We all love our dogs, but at some point, they age and begin to slow down. Animal medicine is even farther behind than human medicine, so the public often does not know what to do. However, there is a lot that can be done to help a dog with arthritis. Let’s look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment for dog arthritis.
Dog Arthritis Symptoms
There are varying symptoms that a dog with arthritis may demonstrate. Here are a few:
∙ Trouble getting up from a lying down position
∙ Slowing down overall
∙ Trouble with stairs or jumping
Overall, dog arthritis will lead to a dog slowing down and being able to do less. It is important to seek help as soon as possible.
What Causes Dog Arthritis
Dog arthritis can be broken down into two major causes:
1. Developmental – the dog is predisposed genetically to developing dog arthritis. This becomes more apparent as the dog grows and changes in the joint develop.
2. Acquired – the dog is not born with the genetic predisposition, but rather circumstances have caused the dog arthritis. Factors such as immune decease, traumatic injury, or infection may contribute to acquired dog arthritis.
Treatment for dog arthritis
High quality evidence exists to indicate supervised exercise is a valid and effective treatment for arthritis. Most studies for the treatment of dog arthritis come from human medicine, as dog arthritis studies are not as prevalent. We also know that in order to treat dog arthritis it will take more than just one supervised session. So let’s first talk about what a supervised exercise session means. This is not an at home program, but rather an exercise session supervised and executed by a trained professional, such as a canine physical therapist. Following the initial professionally supervised exercise session, an at home exercise program will be implemented to further assist treatment of dog arthritis.
But how many sessions may be necessary for effective treatment of dog arthritis? Of course, you may see some progress in 5 or 6 sessions, but the evidence indicates that the best treatment for dog arthritis includes 12 sessions. It takes time to build up strength that will help improve joint motion and mobility, as well as protect joints from further damage. Not to mention the lubricating effect that exercise will have on the joints. In addition to exercise, a skilled canine physical therapist will perform hands on treatments and various modalities that will help decrease inflammation, restore mobility, decrease pain, and improve the overall joint health of a dog with arthritis. To learn more, check out our dog arthritis page: