The warmer weather means both you and your canine friend get outside more. Bring on the games of fetch, walks, hikes, and warm weather fun! All of this increased exercise can start to shed light on any early signs of canine arthritis too. When you and your four-legged friend are out and about, be sure to keep a watchful eye for any joint discomfort. Most cases of canine arthritis are simply a sign of regular aging, but here are some things you should know about canine arthritis and how you can help your best friend.
There are two main types of canine arthritis – degenerative joint disease known as osteoarthritis and inflammatory joint disease. Degenerative joint disease is the most common form of canine arthritis because it is the natural break down of cartilage from aging. When the cartilage wears down, the bones rub together causing pain, just like in people. The other form is called inflammatory joint disease can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection or genetic factors which cause inflammation. Infections and diseases from tick bites can often be the cause of inflammatory joint disease which is why checking for ticks is so important! Both types of canine arthritis present themselves in similar ways and your vet will be able to determine the root cause whether infection or simply old age, to best determine a treatment plan.
After an evaluation by the vet treatments for canine arthritis typically fall into a few categories. Here are the most common canine arthritis treatments:
- Weight loss is the number one recommendation for dogs who are suffering from joint discomfort. A new exercise routine may be required for your pooch to get them slowly back into shape to help relieve stress on their joints. Just like in people, regular exercise will also help keep joints from getting stiff. If you’ve got a dog who loves water take them swimming, it is a great exercise for dogs with arthritis or joint discomfort.
- A change in diet is another easy step to take in treating canine arthritis. It may mean adding in more fatty acids or a joint supplement or changing your dog to a diet food. This will vary based on the cause of arthritis in your dog.
- If weight loss, diet, and exercise are not helping or the arthritis is too severe, prescription medication may be suggested. These medications can range from a simple NSAID to disease specific, arthritis medications.
- The last option is to undergo surgery which is often necessary for genetic issues or where all other options have been exhausted with no changes in discomfort level.
If your dog is showing signs of discomfort it is time to come in for a checkup. We will make sure your friend is feeling their best so you can keep going on new adventures and playing games of fetch! To schedule an appointment you can call us or book online!