Common Joint Problems in Dogs
Did You Know That 1 in 5 Dogs Suffer from Joint Conditions?
Some of the most common joint issues in canines include; arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and patellar luxation.
• Arthritis – Inflammation of the joints.
• Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) – Degeneration of the cartilage around the joints, which also causes inflammation.
• Hip dysplasia – Abnormal formation and growth of the hip.
• Elbow dysplasia – Abnormal formation and growth of the elbow.
• Patellar Luxation – Dislocation of the kneecap.
Are certain dog breeds more prone to joint problems?
Although any dog breed can develop joint problems, some breeds are more prone to certain conditions because of their genes. Larger dog breeds for example, are more susceptible to developing arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia. Some of these breeds include; Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. Small dog breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers are more commonly affected by patellar luxation.
How can I tell if my dog has joint problems?
Some of the first symptoms people notice with dog joint problems include; limping, difficulty going up stairs, trouble getting up, and slower running. Pain is also a sign to look out for with joint problems in canines. Owners will usually notice things such as; decreased activity, loss of appetite, discomfort, whining, and excess licking of certain areas.
What tests are necessary for diagnosis?
Radiographs and a physical exam are the primary sources used to diagnose joint problems in dogs. Veterinarians check the x-rays for signs of fractures, degeneration, deformations, and other things that can help with the diagnosis. If needed, your regular veterinarian can refer you to an orthopedic so that your dog can get further testing and treatment.
Can joint issues in dogs be treated?
There are two basic forms of treatment used for joint conditions in dogs; surgical and non-surgical. Surgical treatment can be anything from repairing a joint to replacing a joint. Non-surgical treatment on the other hand, focuses on managing pain and inflammation using medication, weight management, and physical therapy.
How can joint problems in dogs be prevented?
• Test your dog for joint problems before breeding. Canines who test positive for certain conditions such as hip dysplasia should not be bred.
• Maintain your dog at an ideal weight. This will minimize the amount of pressure placed on the joints.
• Feed your canine a well-balanced diet.
• Provide your dog with adequate exercise.
• Ask your veterinarian about supplements and vitamins for your dog.