Symptoms and treatment of canine arthritis.

September 14, 2022

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Just like in humans, a dog’s joints can stiffen and cause discomfort as they age. Osteoarthritis affects over 80% of dogs over the age of 8 years, and some younger dogs too. To support Animal Pain Awareness Month, the Vets at Clarendon Street Vets are helping dog owners understand how to spot signs of pain and support their dog at home.

Adaptations for Arthritic Dogs

Signs and symptoms of canine arthritic pain can be difficult to see, as they may be subtle and intermittent. Dogs cannot tell us how they feel and are good at hiding pain and just ‘carrying on’. Therefore, a large percentage of cases are overlooked until a dog is at the latter stages of this debilitating disease.

Vet Patrick von Heimendahl explains that symptoms of Osteoarthritis in dogs include:

  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Licking, biting, or overgrooming an area
  • Lameness or subtle shifting of weight
  • Gait changes
  • Struggling to get up after lying down
  • Unable to jump on and off things
  • Struggling with stairs
  • No longer wanting to play
  • General behaviour changes

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, Patrick advises that is best to get them looked at sooner rather than later – contact us to book a pain appointment. Arthritis can be very painful for pets and may substantially affect their quality of life.

If your Vet is concerned, x-rays can be taken to confirm diagnosis and then a treatment plan put in place. It is important to understand that the treatment of arthritis is often a ‘multimodal’ approach as there are many aspects of the condition that need to be considered. Treatments may include:

  • Medications for pain management
  • Physiotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Supplements
  • Diet adaptations
  • Home adaptations

It may be that 1 or 2 of these treatments are implemented initially and more added as the disease progresses, but every patient is different and so the treatment programme will vary from pet to pet.

As well as the treatments available there are also some simple home and exercise adaptations and that can be made to improve your arthritic dog’s quality of life. The Vets at our Cambridge clinic have pooled their best advice in a downloadable guide – get this here.

Get our Dog Arthritis Home Guide

There are many fantastic resources available to owners to help manage their arthritic pet’s condition at home. Speak to our team at Clarendon Street Vets about the support we can offer to your pet and you – get in touch.

You may also find the Canine Arthritis Management website helpful as it has advice and products for arthritic dogs – visit it now.

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