Have you noticed that your dog is becoming less keen to exercise, or that they seem stiff and sore afterwards? Is your dog struggling to jump into the car or on the sofa?
Does your dog take a while to settle down to sleep or continually change position?
These are signs that your dog may be suffering from osteoarthritis, and this can become more obvious as the days draw in and we head towards the cold and damp autumn weather.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the cartilage surfaces of joints becoming damaged and this causes the release of enzymes that lead to inflammation within the joint and pain. Extra bony growths can appear called osteophytes which can lead to further pain. Gradually the joint struggles to function normally and lameness, loss of muscle, and disuse set in. Your vet would be able to identify a lot of these changes on an x-ray, but often the clinical signs and your description are enough for them to make a diagnosis.
It is really important to consider the options available for your dog, as arthritis is a very painful condition and if it is untreated your dog will often progress more quickly. Being overweight will make the symptoms worse, so it is always sensible to ensure your dog is at their ideal bodyweight. Joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are beneficial in a lot of cases and it is always worth considering these.
A lot of dogs enjoy swimming, and hydrotherapy is very beneficial in a lot of cases of arthritis, also helping to keep weight under control as well. If the combination of these therapies is not enough for your dog then your vet may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications. Although you may be worried about your dog having to go onto long term medications, your vet should be able answer any questions you might have, and hopefully make your dog as comfortable and lively as they used to be!
Bedford’s long established veterinary practice.
Caring for your animals for over 50 years.www.scottveterinaryclinic.co.uk 01234 261622