Ideally, an active pet is a happy and healthy pet, but all that running around chasing balls and jumping will take its toll on your dog’s joints over time. Degenerative joint disease (DJD) includes hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis and inflammatory joint disease and occurs in about 20 percent of all dogs at some point in their lives. Other common joint diseases such as elbow dysplasia are caused developmentally when bones and joints do not develop correctly from birth.
Preventative measures are few but researching different breeds of dogs that are prone to joint disorders is a good start. Keeping your dog active and at a healthy weight is also a good way to ward off joint disease, as is referring to your veterinarian regarding vitamins and additives that can be incorporated into their diet at an early age.
The most common signs of joint diseases in a dog are a noticeable decline in activity, frequent limping, difficulty running, walking or getting off and on furniture and whimpering. In advanced stages of joint disease your beloved pet may even overcompensate for the pain and drag its limbs or move very little or not at all.
Treatments for joint disease include surgical procedures, weight management, nutritional changes and physical therapies. If surgery is necessary, that will be determined by a veterinary professional and is dependent upon factors such as age, current health and your pet’s activity level. It your dog is deemed healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure, a joint replacement, joint fusion or reconstructions are some of the options that will be considered. If other less invasive treatments are options, those would include, but are not limited to, physical therapy to increase muscle mass and density, cartilage repair and pain management.
Some joint problems can be remedied by simple dietary changes and weight management as that will take added stress and pressure off inflicted areas as well as reduce inflammation. Dietary changes may include changing your dog’s food to one rich in vitamins that will promote healthy bones and joints or adding additives such as fish oil to their diet.
Canines suffering from arthritis cannot be fully cured but this condition can be managed with ease. Arthritis is often caused by injuries or accidents sustained by your pet, infections or may simply develop over the years from overused cartilage. The most important treatment for arthritis is weight management and assisting your dog in remaining active. Steady activity releases fluid that benefits in the movement of their joints.
Over the counter and prescription medications are available for your dog for pain management and play an important role in their treatment as this condition ranges in severity-the worst cases being extremely painful and uncomfortable for your canine. It is a good idea that until you have spoken to your veterinarian that you limit your dog’s activity level until they are completely assessed however.
Prognosis for dogs with joint disease is in essence very positive with all the medical advancements today and your dog can live out a fairly normal, active life with the proper medical attention and treatment. As with anything else medicinal, prevention is always the best way to go so start early and make sure you pets receives yearly check-ups.