Osteoarthritis is one of the more common chronic conditions that impacts dogs today. It can have a severely negative impact on your dog’s life, as it is progressive, incurable, and can cause pain. If your dog is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it is vital to take the steps required to ensure that your dog can still enjoy a good quality of life. With that being said, continue reading to find out more about this condition, including how to recognize it and the different treatment options available.
How do you recognize osteoarthritis in your dog?
The first thing we need to do is take a look at the different signs of this condition. There are a number of different ways that you can recognise osteoarthritis in your dog. This includes the following…
- Licking their joints
- Difficulty finding a comfortable position or restlessness
- Swollen or painful joints
- Stiffness or lameness, especially in the mornings or when they are resting following exercise
- Pain – Of course, dogs do not often show overt pain, and so you may witness this in the form of your dog eating less, playing less, getting stiff, slowing down, or other behavioural changes
How will your vet diagnose osteoarthritis?
There are a number of different approaches that can be used when determining whether your pet has this condition. This includes the following…
- Gait analysis
- Imaging, for example, ultrasound, MRI, CT, and X-rays
- Laboratory testing, for example, joint taps, urine tests, and blood tests
- Physical examination
- Checking your dog’s response to treatment
How is osteoarthritis treated?
As mentioned in the introduction, this is not a condition that can be cured. However, it can be managed and there are a number of different things that can be done to reduce the impact of osteoarthritis. This can be simple things such as looking for the best orthopedic dog bed for your pet and modifying their exercise. Or, it can be something more drastic, for example, surgery. There are other ways that this condition can be treated too. This includes regenerative medicine, for example, platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells, as well as intra-articular injections, and complementary treatments, for example, chiropractic, acupuncture, rehabilitation, hydrotherapy, and physiotherapy. Other options include diet changes and supplements, home environment adaptations, weight loss, and pain relief. The latter is very important and there are many different types of pain relief that could be prescribed to your pet.
To conclude, hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding osteoarthritis and how it can have an impact on a dog’s life. With that being said, if you notice any of the signs that have been discussed in this blog post, it is important to take your pup to see a vet at the earliest opportunity.