Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis Awareness Month

Identifying Early Signs of Arthritis: A Joint Effort

Many people know the classic signs of arthritis in humans: joint aches, pains, and stiffness. Unfortunately dogs can’t tell us when they feel uncomfortable or sore. It is critical for both veterinarians and owners to play a role in the recognition of joint pain in order to help our animals live the happy, healthy lives that they deserve.
The most common form of arthritis in dogs is canine osteoarthritis (OA). Developmental factors often contribute to this condition, meaning it begins while your dog is still growing. Differences in the anatomy of certain joints, especially the hips and elbows, can lead to damage over several years. Dog arthritis is the result of wear and tear on the joints of your canine companion. As the cartilage that lines the joint wears away, the bones rub together, causing pain, inflammation and stiffness. Over time, the joint will continue to deteriorate and cause more discomfort for your pet.

Osteoarthritis involves a progressive breakdown of cartilage. As degeneration and inflammation continue, pain can develop as the joint loses its normal structure. Awareness of subtle signs of joint pain can help diagnose OA early. Helpful control strategies can then be used to slow down progression, and medications can be given to keep your pup pain-free.

Does your dog have joint pain? Know the signs. Early detection is key.

Joint pain symptoms can easily be missed in the early stages. These may include sleeping more frequently or feeling tired longer than usual. Your pet may take some time to stand up after lying down. With time, you might notice a reluctance to do certain tasks like walking up stairs or jumping onto furniture. Behavior changes, such as becoming more irritable or aggressive, can also occur. Signs typically become more obvious as the condition progresses and movements become harder. While a diagnosis can be determined at this time by your veterinarian, early observations at home can prevent significant discomfort. Knowledge of these early signs will allow you to collaborate with your veterinarian and ultimately help your beloved animal live the most comfortable life possible.

If you observe any of the signs, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away. Early intervention can make a huge difference in the quality of life for your pet. Additionally, it is important to stay informed about your pet’s health and to seek veterinary advice if you have any questions or concerns.