Arthritis is caused by the breaking down of smooth cartilage that covers and protects the bones that form a joint.
Dogs that have canine arthritis may exhibit the following signs:
A veterinarian may conduct a physical exam, take x-rays and perform other tests to help determine the cause of your dog’s pain. He or she will also check your dog’s medical history for previous injuries and consider other possible conditions.
Canine arthritis can occur as a result of:
Note: If a larger dog suffers any injuries or sprains during his growth period, this can cause him to develop arthritis later in life.
Although certain larger breed dogs such as Mastiffs and Great Danes are susceptible to arthritis, the condition can develop in all breeds and mixed breeds. Elder dogs also often develop arthritis as a result of aging.
Keeping your dog fit with exercise and proper nutrition may, in some cases, help prevent arthritis, or possibly slow its progression once the condition has set in. In fact, if your dog is a larger breed, it's necessary to monitor the type and amount of food given when his bones are still growing. Arthritic conditions cannot always be predicted or prevented, especially those that are inherited.
Once symptoms of arthritis set in, there is no cure. It’s important for you to work with your veterinarian to create a program to minimize your dog’s pain while keeping him healthy. Some general treatment options may include:
Note: Please do not give your dog human medication without first checking with your vet.
Generally, dogs with arthritis should engage in daily low-impact exercise such as walking or, if possible, swimming.
If your dog has arthritis, here are a few ways that you can make her more comfortable:
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