Arthritis in Dogs – Symptoms and Treatments

There are certain health conditions that are specific to dogs but others may be very similar to what we experience as humans. For example, as a dog ages or due to various injuries, they may begin to have issues with arthritis. It is a problem that tends to get worse as time goes by but you are not without options when it comes to treating this problem.

Typically, a problem with arthritis occurs as the dog ages. As is the case with humans, it is osteoarthritis which is the most common. It is often recognized because the dog begins to slow down and they may have a problem lying down or standing up again from a down position. Stairs also become a difficulty for dogs and you may notice that they are groaning as they try to do anything strenuous.

The reason why this type of arthritis is so common in dogs is because the cartilage begins to get thinner as the dog ages. Dogs that are cared for and live to be very old tend to experience this problem in the joints. As the cartilage reduces, the inflammation increases and this can lead to a buildup of fluid in the area as well as the growth of osteophytes, which can increase the pain. As the cartilage continues to thin, it can speed up the entire process and eventually, the dog could suffer from severe pain and a difficulty with movement.

If you notice that your dog is having any of these problems, it is important to take them to the veterinarian for a checkup. The veterinarian will perform various tests to determine if the dog is in pain. They may also take x-rays to check on the cartilage and to see if it has worn thin. It is unfortunate, but most dogs tend to ignore the early soreness that they may be experiencing, so it is not likely for their owners to determine that they have a problem until it has become quite advanced.

A number of options are available for treating arthritis in dogs. In almost every case, the treatment is for reducing inflammation and the associated pain of arthritis. Those options do not build back up the cartilage again, but they can help the dog to be comfortable, even though they are still experiencing the issue.

Steroids are one of the most common options for treating arthritis in dogs. Those corticosteroids reduce swelling and inflammation in the joints that are affected. It can help the dog to be more comfortable but if they are used long-term, it can increase the breakdown of cartilage in the joint. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are another option. Those drugs include ibuprofen, aspirin and similar medications. They can also help with the pain but they need to be regulated because it can lead to side effects, including kidney and liver problems.

As your dog gets older, problems such as these become common. Caring for your dog sometimes requires that they take medication to be comfortable. It also requires a kind hand on the part of the owner so they can enjoy their older years.

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