Osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects 1 in 5 dogs. The disease progresses through four stages. With each stage, it worsens. Recovery depends on the severity of the disease. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis does not show symptoms in the early stages.
However, with proper management, the disease's progress from one stage to the other can slow down, and the dog can live a comfortable life. Despite the lack of a cure for the disease, many dogs have lived for a long time with the condition.
What Is Osteoarthritis in Dogs?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease. It is a type of arthritis that commonly affects the dog’s spine and lower limbs, causing gradual and permanent deterioration. As a result, the dog experiences stiffness and excruciating pain in the joints. In worse cases, the dog becomes lame.
Joints have a layer of cartilage, which offers protection against injury and friction. When osteoarthritis sets in, the layer begins to wear out progressively. The resultant effect is that bones rub against each other, exposing the nerve endings of your dog.
Exposing the nerves causes the dog severe pain around the joints, inflammation, stiffening, and bone thickness. It is saddening to watch your dog suffer so much pain. Luckily, you can use drugs like Previcox to manage this pain. Yes, Previcox for Dogs Treats Osteoarthritis Related Pain.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis affects older dogs, but younger dogs are at risk too. It is understandable in older dogs because advancement in age comes with a loss of tissues, wear, and tear.
Apart from the age factor, the condition is common among dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden, Labrador, Staffordshire Terriers, Alaskan, Rottweilers, and Retrievers.
The other risk factors that predispose dogs to the disease are:
- Injury and dislocation of the joint
- Prolonged steroid treatment
- Excessive and strenuous physical activity
- Lack of exercise leading to loss of muscle mass
- Joint infections like Lyme disease and disorders such as hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis,
- Poor nutrition
- Trauma from orthopedic surgery
Sign and Symptoms
Behavior change in your dog should alarm you. Keenly watch out for stiffness, lameness, muscle loss, swelling around joints, discomfort when resting, difficulty rising, excess weight, pain expression, and withdrawal from physical activity.
A veterinarian makes a diagnosis of osteoarthritis by checking your dog’s medical history and physical examination. Sometimes, radiography may be required to rule out other diseases.
The vet will ask you specific questions, such as when you noticed decreased physical activity in your dog, any signs of pain, injuries, or illness, among other questions. This will help to determine the history and the dog's condition.
Afterward, the vet will proceed to examine the dog's gait to analyze stiffness and lameness. The vet will manipulate the joint to assess discomfort or pain; accumulation of joint fluid, and any swelling. They will observe the muscles too to assess muscle wasting.
An x-ray helps identify bone changes around the affected joint, thickening, stiffening of bone next to the cartilage, increased fluid level around the joint, and soft tissue changes.
No treatment can reverse the damage caused by osteoarthritis. Your goal is to manage the presenting symptoms, ease the pain, and make your dog as comfortable as you can. Be sure to follow your vet's instructions to manage the condition.
The treatment regime will depend on your dog's weight, age, diet, symptoms, and severity of the disease.
Daily moderate physical exercise such as walking around the neighborhood will help stabilize and strengthen the joint's muscles.
A proper diet and exercise is an excellent way to keep your dog's weight healthy. Extra weight can make the disease progress because it exerts pressure on joints causing friction and pain.
With your vet's guidance, develop a gradual weight maintenance routine that will minimize damage and increase mobility.
Medical treatment is administered to manage symptoms. As earlier stated, Previcox is effective in treating Osteoarthritis Related Pain. Previcox is an excellent anti-inflammatory prescription medication. It relieves joint pain fast and inflammation in dogs, allowing your dog to move easily.
Your dog will need a nutritional supplement to boost immunity. Supplements that increase joint lubrication, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms are recommended.
Depending on your dog's condition, the vet might perform surgery to rectify or replace the joint. Surgery will help ease pain, alleviate symptoms, and slow the disease progression.
Keeping your dog comfortable will lessen the pain. You could try providing a mattress, floor mats, and warm blankets. Protect your dog also from slippery floors to prevent further injuries.