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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Arthiritis in Dogs   Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:04 pm

Many pets develop some form of joint disease during their lives. It can be mild, even unnoticeable to the pet owner, or it can be debilitating, severely affecting the pet's quality of life, or even causing complete lameness. The majority of cases fall somewhere in between.

While some pets may develop joint disease in the first half of their lives, signs usually do not appear until the latter half of life, which varies depending on your pet's breed. Dogs are more susceptible to arthritis than cats, and the larger dog breeds are more vulnerable than smaller breeds.

The most common signs of joint disease include stiffness, limping, or favoring a limb - particularly after sleep or resting, inability to rise, reluctance to jump or even climb stairs, and noticeable pain.

Causes of arthritis

There are many diseases that affect the joints of dogs, so many, in fact, that there are 10 major classifications.

Joint diseases occur as a result of:

Ligament, tendon, or muscle disease, e.g., ruptured anterior cruciate ligament

Fractures involving the joint

Developmental disorders, e.g., hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, Legg-Perthes disease

Congenital disorders, e.g., Wobbler's syndrome (cervical spondylomyelopathy), luxated patella

Dietary and hormonal disease, e.g., hyperparathyroidism, obesity

Metabolic disorders, e.g., von Willebrand's disease (hemophilia) in dogs

Cancer

Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)

Inflammatory joint disease, e.g., Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis

Degenerative spinal joint disease, e.g., intervertebral disc disease, cauda equina syndrome

Management of arthritis

Medical treatment of hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis has greatly improved in the last several years thanks to the introduction and approval of several new supplements and drugs. Because hip dysplasia (and other types of dysplasias) are primarily inherited conditions, there are no products on the market that prevent their development. Through proper diet, exercise, supplements, anti-inflammatories, and pain relief, you may be able to decrease the progression of degenerative joint disease, but the looseness in the joint or bony changes will not change significantly.

Medical management is indicated for both young dogs with clinical signs and for older dogs with chronic osteoarthritis. Because of the high cost involved with many surgeries, medical management is many times the only realistic option for many pet owners. Medical management is multifaceted. For the best results, several of the following modalities should be instituted. For most animals, veterinarians begin with the first recommendations and work their way down this list as needed to control the pain and inflammation associated with degenerative joint disease.

Weight Management

Weight management is the first thing that must be addressed. All surgical and medical procedures will be more beneficial if the animal is not overweight. Considering that up to half of the pets in the U.S. are overweight, there is a fair chance that many of the dogs with hip dysplasia/osteoarthritis are also overweight. Helping a dog lose pounds until he reaches his recommended weight, and keeping it there, may be the most important thing an owner can do for a pet. However, this may be the hardest part of the treatment, but it is worth it. You, as the owner, have control over what your dog eats. If you feed an appropriate food at an appropriate level and keep treats to a minimum, your dog will lose weight.

Exercise

Exercise is the next important step. Exercise that provides for good range of motion and muscle building and limits wear and tear on the joints is the best. Leash walking, swimming, walking on treadmills, slow jogging, and going up and down stairs are excellent low-impact exercises. An exercise program should be individualized for each dog based on the severity of the osteoarthritis, weight, and condition of the dog. In general, too little exercise can be more detrimental than too much, however the wrong type of exercise can cause harm. While watching a dog play Frisbee is very enjoyable and fun for the dog, it is very hard on a dog's joints. Remember, it is important to exercise daily; only exercising on weekends, for instance, may cause more harm than good if the animal is sore for the rest of the week and reluctant to move at all. Warming the muscles prior to exercise and following exercise with a "warm-down" period are beneficial. Consult with your veterinarian regarding an exercise program appropriate for your dog.

More information at: http://peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2084&aid=231

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schnauzkyLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Arthiritis in Dogs   Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:16 pm

joint diseases are no fun. I already have one arthritic knee!
hopefully my lil guy won't have troubles associated with his joints!
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PostSubject: Re: Arthiritis in Dogs   Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:18 pm

Yes thats true, no fun at all. Thankfully there are things that we can do to make them feel better, I couldn't post all of it but there are more options and medication in the article.

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PostSubject: Re: Arthiritis in Dogs   Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:40 pm

Every dog I've been around has suffered from Arthiritis in one form or another as they got older. Its a sad fact of life. Medicine, Weight management and proper excersize all do much to help. With my 3 prevous dogs, I also made it easier by building ramps or landscaping to make it easier for them to get around with less trouble and pain.

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PostSubject: Re: Arthiritis in Dogs   Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:10 pm

I am glad this subject is here! My sweet Tala (125 pound wolf/malamute/shepherd mix) is suffering from joint issues in her back legs. Can someone give me a recommendation of supplements and pain relief for her? It is breaking my heart to watch her.
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