Osteoarthritis in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Osteoarthritis often begins unnoticed and insidiously with damage to the joints. Causes can be strains, growth disorders, anatomical malpositions, wear and tear, or bacterial infections. The joint reacts with inflammation and produces more, but inferior synovial fluid. The articular cartilage regresses and loses its ability to absorb the dog’s movements. What initially begins as a natural protective reaction develops into a chronic disease – arthrosis. Then every movement hurts.

Signs of osteoarthritis

If a dog has an incipient arthrosis, it reacts more with a change in nature, more rarely with whimpering and howling. Does the otherwise active dog not feel like moving anymore? Doesn’t he want to play anymore? Does he find it difficult to get up, does he become paralyzed or even react aggressively when certain parts of his body are touched? All of these can be indications of arthrosis and reason enough to visit the veterinarian.

Osteoarthritis therapy

The therapies for diseases of the musculoskeletal system range from strict rest, the use of heat, targeted exercise training to build muscle, special medication, a change in diet, and weight reduction to major orthopedic operations.

Osteoarthritis cannot be completely cured, but it is possible to relieve the dog of its pain. With painkillers specially developed for dogs, the quality of life of the animals can be noticeably improved. And once the pain subsides, the joy of movement returns.

It is important that sick dogs also remain in well-dosed exercise so that the joints do not stiffen completely. The movement also strengthens the muscles, which in turn relieves the joints. Physiotherapeutic measures or acupuncture can also help the dog.

If the dog is overweight, a change in diet is essential. Every kilo less relieves the sensitive joints. Dietary supplements with cartilage-building or anti-inflammatory properties also have a supporting effect. They keep the “joint grease” supple and reduce the risk of arthrosis.

Help for dogs with chronic pain

If the vet has identified a chronic progressive condition like osteoarthritis, they will likely prescribe a pain reliever. In addition to therapy with painkillers, there are supportive measures that dog owners can carry out themselves:

  • Controlled movement helps reduce weight, maintain muscle strength, and improve joint mobility over time.
  • Losing weight eliminates unnecessary extra stress on sore joints in overweight dogs.
  • Supplementary feed or a feed high in essential fatty acids can also help.
  • Well-designed, regular physical therapy (especially after surgery) can reduce pain, build conditions, and significantly improve joint mobility.
  • firm dog bed in a warm, draft-free spot is more comfortable, supports the joints, and makes getting up easier.
Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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