The most prevalent illness amongst dogs is joint pains. Though often occurring in older dogs, all pet parents have to address arthritis sooner or later. Joint pain is viewed as a disease of only large dog breeds, whereas research suggests that 20% of dogs from all species suffer from arthritis, irrespective of their size. Arthritis is one of the most common causes of chronic pain in dogs that veterinarians often treat.
Arthritis might be caused due to old age, being overweight, or common health concern for specific dog breeds.
Regardless of the reason, it is terrifying to see your pet in pain. Here are a few causes and symptoms of joint pain and how you can treat them.
Causes Of Joint Pain In Dogs
Developmental or degenerative problems are two major causes of pain in dogs’ joints.
Developmental problems are an outcome of hereditary predispositions, with elbow and hip dysplasia being the two most common ones. Degenerative problems are developed over time due to age or overuse. Older dogs are prime to suffer from osteoarthritis due to years of wear and tear of joints and ligaments.
Large breed dogs owing to the substantial weight on their joints, are more likely to have developmental or degenerative problems. Some dog breeds are naturally prone to specific joint problems — Bernese Mountain dogs are susceptible to elbow dysplasia, Rottweilers are often mired with knee and ankle issues, and cruciate ligament disease is far too common in Newfoundlands; all these issues, if left unattended, can lead to arthritis.
Joint Pain Symptoms
Joint pain symptoms tend to appear gradually and may include:
- Difficulty while sitting, standing, or lying down
- Stiffness or slowness when getting up.
- Trouble in climbing the stairs
- Refusal to jump or run
- Decreased activity due to lack of interest in normal activities
- Holding a limb up off the ground or Limping
- Stiffness or swelling of joints.
Most veterinarians swear by weight management as being the most important part of therapy. Any dog who gets more than 5% overweight will suffer from decreased mobility.
Since most pets are more than 5% overweight, getting your pet to lean body weight decreases the number and volumes of treatments and dramatically curtails medication usage.
Whenever a pet owner thinks of a natural pet supplement for joint health, glucosamine is the first that comes to mind. But there are various natural anti-inflammatories such as chondroitin, colostrum, green-lipped mussel, and deer antler velvet that help restore joint health by providing nutrients for cell repair.
Many supplements that stimulate joint function by reducing inflammation can be administered through treats, food additives, pills, and liquids.
Cannabidiol (CBD), despite being relatively new, has surprisingly become quite popular in many places. CBD for dog joint pain is available in the form of edible treats, oils, liquids, and topical creams. CBD works on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of dogs to create calm and balance for their body to self-heal.
CBD has been proven to provide relief from pain and inflammation for many pets.
When an 8-year-old Miniature Pinscher was diagnosed with arthritis, it went from being very active to very slow. Supplements such as CBD Elixir helped the dog by perking him up right away to move better.
It helped to improve his behavior from whining in pain to returning to his sweet self.
Most of us view acupuncture as a staple medium of traditional Chinese medicine. Surprisingly, veterinary acupuncture is also used for pain relief in dogs with arthritis.
Since it has been around for thousands of years, acupuncture works well for numerous pets. It aids in decreasing heat, swelling, and inflammation using acupuncture.
Veterinary acupuncture requires inserting needles into the dog’s body along specific points called “meridians” that stimulate nerve pathways. During such a process, the body releases endorphins — the feel-good hormones that also alleviate pain.
Canine physical therapy, popularly known as rehabilitation, consists of various techniques that help dogs lose weight, improve mobility, and reduce pain.
These modalities include cavaletti training to teach dogs to walk over poles and other obstacles, passive range of motion, stretching, underwater treadmill, and swimming.
Canine physical therapy witnessed its onset in Europe in the 1980s, and it gradually found its way into the U.S. by the 1990s.
It is possible to perform routine therapy for dogs at home under a veterinarian’s guidance, while complicated therapies often require a specialist. Your veterinarian is the best person to ask for advice on your arthritic dog’s unique situation.
Prolotherapy, where “prolo” is short for “proliferation,” is a non-surgical ligament reconstruction where an injection is used to stimulate the growth of healthy connective tissue to strengthen torn or weakened ligaments and tendons and eliminate chronic pain.
Prolotherapy poses minimal risk of complications, and the pain caused by the procedure is usually mild.
The dog’s affected ligament is injected with natural substances like dextrose, lidocaine or procaine, and vitamin B12. The injected solution induces inflammation; this triggers the dog’s body to grow healthy, strong, and connective tissue and stabilize the unstable joints.
Though an injection does not sound like “natural” therapy, yet prolotherapy is touted as natural because the dog’s own body does all the healing and repair work.
Another ancient practice that ensures pain relief in dogs with arthritis is chiropractic care. Chiropractic care manipulates the spine, joints, and other affected areas to increase blood flow to the joints.
Unlike other therapies listed above, chiropractic is one therapy where you can see immediate results. Do not be surprised if you notice an improvement in your dog within minutes of treatment.
While it is beneficial to deploy natural therapies and remedies, prescription medicines can and should be added when needed to control the pain. When and if the disease reaches an advanced stage, a combination of therapies, supplements, and medications is required for effective pain relief.
In cases where natural therapies and remedies prove unfruitful, surgical treatment might only be the last resort.
Surgical treatment may include:
- Arthroscopic Cleaning Of The Joint
- Tissue Replacement
- Joint Replacement
Hope this article helps you take the necessary actions to alleviate the pain your beloved pet might be experiencing.