Arthritis in Pets

Sad Chocolate LabWhy do my joints hurt? Just like humans, our furry friends can suffer from arthritis. Learn what it is and how to help!

On one of my trips to my parent’s home, I noticed that our Chocolate Labrador, Joy, appeared to have lost some weight. When I asked my mom about it, she replied that Joy had, indeed, gone on a diet. The reason behind the diet was that Joy had developed dog arthritis, and maintaining a healthy weight helps her joints feel much better. But, why is that? What exactly is arthritis, and how can you treat it?

Arthritis is a condition that affects one or more joints, and it gets worse over time. It is actually pretty common, as one out of five canines develops arthritis at some point in their lives. While it typically occurs in older dogs, injuries can cause early-onset arthritis at a young age. Some injuries that can result in arthritis include: hip dysplasia (improperly formed hip joint), ruptured ligaments and joint trauma. In addition, larger dog breeds or overweight pooches are more likely to develop arthritis because of extra strain placed on the ligaments and joints. Some signs of arthritis are apparent joint pain in the mornings and after getting up from naps. Also, damp and/or cold surroundings will increase the pain and stiffness of the joints. This will result in your pet moving slowly, or reluctant to move at all. That’s can cause him to gain weight, which will make the problem worse.

If you notice your pooch exhibiting these behaviors, schedule a consultation with your veterinarian. If your animal does have arthritis, the usual treatment includes weight management and medicine to help with the pain. In some cases, physical therapy and acupuncture can also be used to help. And, as with humans, exercise also helps.

Nobody likes joint pain, especially when you have four legs instead of two!

Does your pet have arthritis? What's your treatment plan? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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