Dog Arthritis in Lansing, MI: Signs and Remedies
As your dog ages, you’re doing to start seeing an increase in health issues. Just like when humans get older, dog’s systems start to slow, they become weaker, and ultimately are more susceptible to disease and injuries. One of the most common health issues in older dogs is osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease, but there are ways to help manage the pain for your dog.
What is Dog Arthritis?
Dog arthritis is most commonly found in senior dogs and in large breeds in Lansing, MI. It’s also occasionally called Degenerative Joint Disease, or DJD. It’s the worsening inflammation of the joint caused by the deterioration of cartilage over time. Cartilage’s main role is to act as a cushion between bones. As your dog ages, cartilage begins to break down and the process can be quickened by injury, disease, or repetitive stress on a joint. Because the protective barrier is breaking down, your dog is going to experience pain, inflammation, a decreased range of motion, and the development of bone spurs. The most common areas of osteoarthritis in dogs are their limbs and their lower back.
Are All Dogs Prone to Arthritis?
All dogs are susceptible to dog arthritis in Lansing, MI as they age. However, some dogs are more prone due to having higher risk factors. Some of these include if it’s a large (Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers) or giant (Great Dane and Saint Bernard) breed, obesity, repetitive stress due to strenuous activities like agility, flyball, or dock diving, injuries, infections, poor nutrition, poor conformation, and genetics. If your veterinarian advises that your dog is at a higher risk of osteoarthritis, you should make sure to schedule regular wellness checks. It’s important to catch the disease early in order to slow the progression of the disease down.
Signs of Dog Arthritis in Lansing, MI
If you have an older dog or one that has some of the risk factors listed above, you should be on high alert for the signs of dog arthritis. Some dogs will try to be brave and hide their pain, so you need to also be able to discern your pet’s behavior. Signs that you should be looking for are weight gain, lethargy, reluctance to run and play, stiffness, irritability, lameness, difficulty standing up, pain when you pet them, trouble urinating and possible accidents in the house, and loss of muscle mass. Should your dog start showing these signs, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian in Lansing, MI. Your vet will do a physical examination to check the joint mobility and their range of motion. It’s also likely that they’ll take some X-rays to get a better picture of exactly what’s going on.
Ways to Cope with Dog Arthritis in Lansing, MI
Once your dog has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, you can begin to assess how to slow and control the disease. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it, and it will get progressively worse over time. There are a few ways to manage the pain and inflammation as well as improve the quality of life of your dog. Your vet in Lansing, MI may suggest using multiple forms of therapy to attack at multiple levels.
Joint supplements are usually prescribed to help reduce the inflammation in the joints as well as slow the progression of damage and improve the function of said joints. The ingredients usually include chondroitin and glucosamine in medication for both humans and dogs. These work to assist heal and reduce inflammation as well as increase the water retention in the cartilage so that there’s more cushioning for the joints.
NSAIDs are another medication that might help your dog’s pain. These are often prescribed in conjunction with joint supplements. That way, both inflammation and pain are tackled to improve your dog’s quality of life. The negative side of NSAIDs is that they can’t be used long term in some patients because they’re hard on the liver and kidneys.
Weight Management, Physical Therapy and Exercise
Other coinciding therapies for osteoarthritis are weight management, physical therapy, and exercise management. If your dog is aging and on the heavy side, it’s important to get them moving and change their diet. Excess weight is hard on the joints and speeds up the effects of osteoarthritis in dogs. If your dog is severely out of shape, your vet may recommend physical therapy. These controlled exercises will help improve your dog’s joints in a safe environment. Fetch and racing around are hard on the joints, so physical therapy usually includes swimming or leash walking so that the joints aren’t experiencing so much wear and tear.
Another option that’s gaining popularity is PRP therapy, or platelet rich plasma. This is a procedure where your dog’s blood is drawn and then spun through the centrifuge once or twice. It separates the platelets and growth factors from the whole blood. That platelet rich plasma is then reinjected into your dog in the areas of pain. Due to the growth factors, it’s believed to assist in managing pain and healing the joints. Most dogs see improvement from this therapy in Lansing, MI, but it still will not cure your dog.
Talk with Your Vet About Dog Arthritis in Lansing, MI
If your dog is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, what’s important is to make the remainder of his life as comfortable as possible. And, if your dog is still young and you’re working on prevention remember to manage his weight, take plenty of walks, and watch for the signs. The earlier you catch it, the better you can manage dog arthritis.