If your dog is suffering from joint pain, it can negatively impact the quality of your pup's life, and if it's not treated it can even cause a more serious injury or condition. Today, our Palmdale vets discuss joint pain in dogs including the types, causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.
Joint pain is an issue dogs of all breeds and ages can suffer from, however, it's seen more often in geriatric dogs. What many dog owners believe to be their pup "slowing down", could often be brought on by joint pain instead of old age. And, if this issue isn't attended to quickly, it can often cause more severe conditions or injuries in the future. In this blog, our veterinary team at All Care Pet Clinic shares the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments for joint pain in dogs.
The Types & Causes of Dog Joint Pain
When discussing joint pain in dogs, there are two types of problems that could be causing your canine companion's pain: developmental and degenerative.
Developmental Joint Issues
Developmental joint problems are present in your pooch from the beginning. These issues are caused by improper development of the joints while your dog is young, which is often rooted in their genetics, and could cause more serious injuries such as hip or elbow dysplasia.
Many dog breeds, particularly large and giant breeds, are predisposed to varieties of painful joint problems. For example, Rottweilers are prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems, Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly develop elbow dysplasia and Newfoundlands are one of the breeds that are most prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
If you are purchasing a dog from a breeder, you should ask them about any predispositions their breed or lineage might have to joint issues. A good breeder will provide you with that information unprompted, but it never hurts to ask if you don't receive it.
Degenerative Joint Issues
Degenerative joint problems are brought on by repeated use of your dog's joints over time, including the wearing down of cartilage or tendon injuries. The most common kinds of these joint problems are cruciate ligament issues. Pain occurs when the tissues degenerate over time with repeated use until more severe problems arise.
When it comes to degenerative joint issues, the actual root cause can widely vary 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.
The Signs of Dog Joint Pain
It can be hard to tell if your pup is suffering from joint pain. Dogs can be somewhat stoic, especially if they are young when they will keep enthusiastically participating in activities that could be causing them pain (or making their condition worse).
To help your dog avoid increasingly severe pain as a result of joint issues monitor for the earliest signs of discomfort, including:
- Limping and stiffness
- Loss of Appetite
- Licking, biting, or chewing the affected area
- Frequent slipping while moving
If you see your dog exhibiting any of these behaviors without an obvious cause, you should call your vet to have your pup examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.
Treating Joint Pain In Dogs
The treatments your vet will give your dog for joint pain will be determined by the severity of your pup's condition and the root cause of the pain. 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.
While the specific treatment may vary, the primary goal of treating your dog's joint pain will be to get them back to their regular mobility and activity level. This is especially important because well-developed muscles around your pup's joints actually help to reduce the stress and strain they place on their joints. An active dog is a healthy one.
Most treatments will also include an evaluation of your dog's weight compared to its size. If your pooch is overweight, they are placing extra strain on their joints and a diet might be prescribed to help ease the weight their pained joints have to bear.
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.