Arthritis, or inflammation and pain in joints, is a common problem in both humans and dogs. But the main difference is that while humans can easily detect and treat arthritis in its early stages, your furry pal cannot let you know about the problem until it becomes pronounced enough for you to notice. By the time most dog parents realize that something’s not right with their pooch, significant damage has already been caused to their pet’s health. This is why it is vital to learn how to detect the 5 signs of arthritis in dogs.
Did you know that arthritis is a chronic illness that affects almost 22 million pet dogs in the US alone?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, one in every five adult dogs is likely to have arthritis whereas all dogs that are older than 7 years have more than a 60% chance of developing this disease.
What is Arthritis in Dogs?
Canine arthritis can be broadly divided into two different types. The first is the degenerative joint disease while the other is the inflammatory joint disease.
Degenerative joint disease, also known as old age arthritis or osteoarthritis, occurs when the cartilage (soft tissue or the lining) between joint bones starts wearing away. This causes a painful sensation as there is no cushioning material in the joints.
Inflammatory joint disease can be caused by different factors. These include genetic deficiencies, weak immune systems, bacteria or fungal infections, and even tick bites that can lead to diseases such as the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Signs of Canine Arthritis
Limping without any apparent injury is one of the most common signs of arthritis in dogs. Even if your pooch hasn’t developed a permanent limp but tends to limp or walk slowly after getting up in the morning, you must take immediate action since it’s probably due to inflammation of their joints.
2. Back Pain
A dog that’s experiencing back pain can be identified by a hunched posture or adopting strange positions when sitting or walking. Back pain might be a result of other dog diseases such as the Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). So, it’s recommended that you consult a vet immediately for proper diagnosis.
3. Thinning Legs
Your dog’s legs might start thinning as their arthritis becomes more and more severe. This is due to reduced activity and slower movements that gradually cause atrophy of muscles.
4. Slowing Down
Has your dog suddenly developed an attraction for the couch? Does he prefer to lie around lazily all day or is slowing down in any other way? If your dog seems to be having difficulty in going up and down the stairs or is getting less and less interested in daily walks or playing their favorite game, arthritis might be the underlying cause.
5. Irritable Behavior
While yelping is definite proof of your dog being in pain, you might also notice that your otherwise good-natured pooch tends to be quite aggressive at times. This change in behavior is likely to occur when you are trying to put on the leash, taking them for a bath, and the likes.
Arthritis is a painful condition. If you notice any of these signs in your furry four-legged friend, make sure to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.