Symptoms and Signs of Dog Arthritis
Arthritis in dogs is an extremely common ailment. Most people aren’t aware that just about every dog, and breed of dog, will contract arthritis in their later years of life. The key to helping your dog fight this onset of arthritis is in recognizing the symptoms and working fast to alleviate the progression.
The signs of arthritis are well known to humans. The tightening of joints and the pain associated with the disease is played out on commercials for all kinds of medications, but dogs have no way of letting their owners know that they are suffering from arthritis until it’s too late.
One of the first things you should recognize is the stiff walking patterns or favoring of certain legs. This lameness in dogs is very pronounced and can give you an idea that something is wrong. Even if it only happens for a short period of time, maybe a day or two, you should have them checked out by your vet to see if anything has been done to the joints or cartilage in the immediate area that can allow arthritis to thrive. You should also keep an eye out for muscle atrophy in your pet.
Muscle atrophy is the wasting away of muscle tissue due to health problems or large amounts of inactivity. Exercise is very important to your dog’s health and, if they do not get enough, this can cause the muscle tissue to be reabsorbed into the body making it much more likely that diseases and arthritis will appear. Make sure your dog is let out and walked on a regular basis. Take them to the park and let them run around for a while, but don’t let them overdo it, either. Too much exercise can also be a bad thing.
You can usually spot early onset arthritis by listening for crepitation in your dog’s joints. If you notice that your dog has started to limp due to lack of exercise, you can check their joints to see if you hear a dry crackling sound when you move them. You will notice that their joints will become slightly swollen as well. The crackling sound you hear is the fluid in the joints dissipating and the bone and ligaments are starting to rub together. This may not cause your dog any pain in the beginning, but if not taken care of soon, it could lead to lameness.
If your dog does end up with lameness, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes they can snap out of it fairly quickly and have no after affects. But there is a chance that if steps aren’t taken soon enough, they could end up being crippled for the rest of their lives, and this isn’t good for either you or your pet.