How to Know if Your Dog Has Canine Osteoarthritis

Diagnosing and managing canine osteoarthritis

The most prevalent disease of dogs nowadays, especially among larger dogs, is canine osteoarthritis, or dog arthritis. Just like in humans, canine osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the bones and the tissues surrounding joints. This means that there is pain, swelling, severe inflammation and as a result, reduced mobility.

Though canine osteoarthritis can affect any part of a dog’s body, more often than not, it is the dog’s stifle or knee, elbow, carpus or wrist, hip and spine that become affected. There is no cure for this disease yet, but the pain and inflammation, associated with canine osteoarthritis can be treated.

Canine osteoarthritis is more prevalent in older and over-weight dogs. Obesity has proven to predispose dogs to arthritis. Are you worried that your dog might be suffering? Then check if he’s having difficulty climbing stairs, or jumping and running.

Is there unusual barking, or notable stiffness or even hiding? Does he seem lethargic and reluctant to move? Is he now slower to come to you for play? Watching your dog suffering from canine osteoarthritis is difficult because you see the things he can no longer do.

How is canine osteoarthritis diagnosed?

To diagnose for degenerative osteoarthritis, you veterinarian will:

1. Perform a thorough physical together with an orthopaedic examination

2. Watch your dog move around to see any difficulty in movement

3. Diagnostic X-ray

4. Arthrocentesis. This involves taking a sample of synovial fluid which surrounds the joints.

If it turns out that your dog is suffering from canine osteoarthritis, here are some things you can do to help him with the pain and to help him ease into everyday living:

1. Weight Control – try to help him lose weight. When a dog is heavy, it is more difficult for him to move. The joints are stressed because of the extra weight.

2. Exercise Control – anything that will stimulate movement so that the dog’s joints won’t be stiff.

Seeing your beloved dog suffer from a painful disease is difficult to watch. But be proactive and work with your vet because he can prescribe medications that can alleviate the pain. And sometimes, that’s all your dog needs to manage canine osteoarthritis and bounce back to his old self!