Symptoms of joint pain are the reason many dogs are brought to be examined by our Tucson vets at Cortaro Farms Pet Hospital. Thankfully there are a number of effective treatments that your vet can prescribe to relieve your dog's joint pain.
What causes joint pain in dogs?
Joint pain can be seen in dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes, but is much more common in senior large breed dogs.
Often the signs that many pet parents believe are an indication that their dog is "slowing down" due to old age, are actually symptoms of joint pain. Leaving your dog's joint pain untreated can lead to more serious injuries or conditions down the road. Below, our vets explain the types, causes, symptoms and treatments for joint pain in dogs.
There are two types of conditions that can cause your dog to experience joint pain: developmental and degenerative.
Developmental Joint Conditions Seen in Dogs
Developmental joint problems are caused by improper development of the joints while your dog is young, which is often rooted in their genetics, and may result in more serious injuries like hip or elbow dysplasia. These issues are present in your pup from the outset.
Many dog breeds, particularly large and giant dogs, are predisposed to painful joint issues such as:
- Rottweilers are prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems
- Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly develop elbow dysplasia
- Newfoundlands are one of the breeds that are most prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
Degenerative Joint Conditions Common in Dogs
Repeated use over time leads to degenerative joint issues. These types of conditions include the wearing down of cartilage or the injury of tendons. Cruciate ligament problems are the most common of these kinds of joint issues. Pain is caused when tissues degenerate over time with repeated use until increasingly severe issues result.
The actual root cause of degenerative joint issues can vary widely from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. But often, they will develop in larger dogs, whose weight places more stress on their joints over time.
What are the signs of dog joint pain that I should watch for?
Dogs really love being active and having fun, which can make it challenging to tell if your dog is experiencing joint pain. Young and middle-aged dogs experiencing the early stages of joint pain will often continue to enthusiastically participate in activities that may be causing them pain (or leading to worsening of their condition).
In order to help your dog avoid increasingly severe pain due to joint issues watch for these earliest signs of joint discomfort, including:
- Limping and stiffness
- Frequent slipping while moving
- Loss of Appetite
- Licking, chewing or biting the affected area
If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog, it's a good idea to book an appointment with your vet, to have your pooch examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.
How is joint pain treated in dogs?
Treatment for joint pain will vary based on the severity of your dog's condition and the specific root cause. Conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia will require surgical intervention to rectify, while other degenerative joint conditions may be treated with a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation and exercise if caught early.
Your dog's examination will also involve an assessment of your pup's weight compared to their size. If they are overweight, they are placing extra strain on their joints and a diet may be prescribed to help ease the weight their pained joints have to bear.
Treatment for joint pain is all about returning your pooch pain-free regular mobility and activities. This is especially important because well-developed muscles around your dog's joints actually help to reduce the stress and strain they place on their joints. An active dog is a healthy dog.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.