While joint pain is a common condition in dogs of all breeds and ages, conditions leading to joint pain are most prevalent in older large breed dogs. If your dog is suffering from joint pain there are effective treatments that could help to relieve your dog's discomfort. Our Greensboro vets explain.
Causes of Painful Joints in Dogs
While joint pain can be seen in dogs of all breeds and ages, it is much more common in senior large breed dogs. Because this is the case many dog owners misinterpret the signs of joint pain as their pooch simply "slowing down" due to old age.
The signs of joint pain should never be ignored. Left untreated joint issues can often lead to more serious injuries or conditions down the road.
There are two types of conditions that can cause your dog to experience joint pain: developmental and degenerative. Here's what differentiates the two:
Developmental Joint Conditions in Dogs
Developmental joint problems are caused by improper development of the joints while your dog is young, which is often rooted in their genetics, and may result in more serious injuries like hip or elbow dysplasia. These issues are present in your pup from early in life.
A number of dog breeds, particularly large and giant dogs, are predisposed to painful joint issues including:
- Rottweilers are prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems
- Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly develop elbow dysplasia
- Newfoundlands are one of the breeds that are most prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
Degenerative Joint Conditions in Dogs
Repeated use over time leads to degenerative joint issues. These types of conditions include the wearing down of cartilage or the injury of tendons. Cruciate ligament problems are the most common of these kinds of joint issues. Pain is caused when tissues degenerate over time with repeated use until increasingly severe issues result.
The actual root cause of degenerative joint issues can vary widely from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. But often, they will develop in larger dogs, whose weight places more stress on their joints over time.
Signs of Joint Pain To Watch For
Dogs really love to be active and have fun, which can make it challenging to tell if your dog is experiencing joint pain. Young and middle-aged dogs experiencing the early stages of joint pain will often continue to enthusiastically participate in activities that may be causing them pain (or leading to worsening of their condition).
To help your dog avoid increasingly severe pain due to joint issues watch for the earliest signs of joint discomfort, such as:
- Limping and stiffness
- Frequent slipping while moving
- Loss of Appetite
- Licking, chewing or biting the affected area
If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it's a good idea to book an appointment with your vet, to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.
How Dog Joint Pain Can Be Treated
Treatment for joint pain will vary based on the severity of your dog's condition and the specific root cause. Conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia will require surgical intervention to rectify, while other degenerative joint conditions may be treated with a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation and exercise if caught early.
Your dog's examination will also involve an assessment of your pup's weight compared to their size. If they are overweight, they are placing extra strain on their joints and a diet may be prescribed to help ease the weight their pained joints have to bear.
Treatment for joint pain is all about returning your pooch pain-free regular mobility and activities. This is especially important because well-developed muscles around your dog's joints actually help to reduce the stress and strain they place on their joints. An active dog is a healthy dog.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.