Arthritis in Dogs: What Are The Causes And Treatments For Arthritis in Dogs?

Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis in Dogs: What Are The Causes And Treatments For Arthritis in Dogs?


Arthritis is a degenerative condition that most frequently affects older dogs. It can be primary or secondary, depending on the cause, and can be brought on by a wide range of factors.

Damage to the cartilage in the joints leads to changes, which ultimately leads to stiffness and pain, which ultimately affects a dog’s ability to move normally and to have a high quality of life.

It is essential to diagnose and treat arthritis as soon as possible in order to try and alleviate the symptoms of the disease before they become incapacitating.

What Exactly Is Arthritis?

Degeneration of the cartilage that lines the bony surfaces of the joint in dogs is the root cause of arthritis in these animals.

This degeneration results in a decreased joint range of movement, which is frequently accompanied by a painful experience.

Cartilage is a form of cushion that can be found within joints and functions to absorb shock. In addition to this, it is smooth, which enables the bones that make up the joint to glide effortlessly over each other.

When it suffers damage, the implications are apparent in the form of effects on the normal function of the joint that is implicated, which eventually has an effect on how easily the joint can be moved.

The thinning of cartilage results in the collection of fluid within the joint, as well as the formation of tiny bony growths around the joint, both of which interfere with the joint’s normal function.

Injuries to the joint, infections, immune-mediated diseases, atypical developmental processes, and other factors can all contribute to the breakdown of cartilage in the joints.

The word “arthritis” originates from the Greek language and literally translates to “infection of the joint.” When referring to conditions that affect dogs’ joints, arthritis is frequently referred to as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD).

How And When Do Dogs Become Most Susceptible To Arthritis, And What Causes It?

Due to the fact that arthritis is a degenerative ailment, it is typically observed more frequently in older dogs; however, this might vary depending on the underlying cause of arthritis.

Arthritis can either be primary (idiopathic), in which case the reason is unknown, or secondary, in which case it is caused by another ailment or joint disease that is already recognized.

It usually develops over a somewhat long period of time, and it may take anything from a few months to a few years before clinical indications become apparent.

Although arthritis manifests itself more frequently in particular joints, such as those of the back, elbows, knees, hips, wrists, or ankles, it is theoretically capable of developing in any joint in the body. Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease.

Which Dog Breeds Have the Highest Prevalence Rates of Osteoarthritis?

Any breed of dog is susceptible to developing osteoarthritis, as it is a disease that is widespread among canines. On the other hand, certain breeds are more likely than others to be affected with primary osteoarthritis.

Although it has not been conclusively demonstrated, it is believed that breeds susceptible to primary degenerative joint disease share a hereditary predisposition. These types of dogs are included:

  • Boxer
  • Chow Chow
  • Dalmatian
  • Samoyed

Arthritis In Dogs: Common Signs And Symptoms

The following is a list of common symptoms of arthritis that can frequently be observed in dogs:

  • Heat and edema in the joints
  • sluggishness, inflexibility, and a slumped-over posture
  • Pain
  • Muscle wastage
  • Reduced range of motion in the joints
  • In severe situations, there is crepitation (also known as crackling) in the joint.

In addition to these specific indicators of arthritis, some dogs may show other, more general signs linked to their behavior and habits.

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These signs are typically attributed to old age before the problem is recognized, however, because they are tied to the dog’s behavior and habits.

These may include the following:

  • Changes in activity levels alterations in activity levels, such as spending more time napping, having less interest in toys, being cautious to jump or go up and down stairs, and avoiding specific types of surfaces that are either rough or slippery.
  • Changes in behavior alterations in behavior, such as fear, and anger, symptoms of discomfort such as grunting while getting up or lying down, and less eagerness to go on walks or welcome people are all examples of these types of alterations.
  • There is a possibility that some dogs will spend a considerable amount of time licking or chewing at the joint or joints that are afflicted.

Diagnosis Of Arthritis In Dogs

Clinical symptoms, radiography, and arthrocentesis, which is a procedure in which a tiny sample of joint fluid is removed for the purpose of analysis, are typically used in conjunction with one another to diagnose arthritis in dogs.

X-rays are helpful for determining the extent of the damage that has been done to the joint as well as the level of arthritis that is present.

There are frequently obvious signs, including the bony outgrowths that occur, fluid in the joint, a narrowing of the joint space, and changes in the bone below the cartilage.

These signs are all symptoms of osteoarthritis. Diagnostic tests, when considered in conjunction with clinical symptoms, make it possible to arrive at a conclusion regarding which treatment alternatives are best suited for the dog in issue.

Is There Any Treatment for Arthritis In Dogs?

Depending on the severity of the condition and the location of the joint or joints that are affected, there are a few different treatment options available for arthritis in dogs.

These options include medicinal care, surgical management, or both. There is a wide variety of treatments available, however, some of the more prevalent treatment choices include the following:

  • Loss of weight to ease the strain on the body’s joints
  • Physiotherapy includes carefully controlled exercise on soft surfaces under the direction of an expert to assist in increasing the range of motion and muscular strength.
  • Inactivity can cause symptoms to become more severe, thus it is important to encourage regular mobility.
  • The application of hot and cold therapy to painful joints in order to alleviate inflammation and discomfort.
  • Supplements for the joints, including chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and essential fatty acids, amongst others, have been shown to help halt the deterioration of the cartilage in the joints.
  • Pharmaceuticals that reduce inflammation, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids; however, because prolonged use of anti-inflammatory medications might result in undesirable side effects, these treatments need to be administered by a veterinarian and monitored by one.
  • There are a variety of surgical techniques, ranging from joint fusion (arthrodesis) to joint replacement, that can be performed to help alleviate the discomfort caused by arthritis.
  • Acupuncture

A veterinarian should do routine checkups on canines that have been diagnosed with arthritis. This will allow the veterinarian to verify that the dog’s treatment plan is adequate and that the dog is not experiencing any adverse reactions to the meds being administered.

The severity of the joint degeneration and the location of the joint that is affected both have an effect on the therapy options that are appropriate and available, which in turn has an effect on the prognosis for dogs who are suffering from arthritis.

To Stop Dog From Developing Arthritis

There are a number of risk factors that, if present, will enhance the likelihood that a dog may develop arthritis. Some examples of this are as follows:

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Conditions caused by heredity as well as abnormal or poor joint conformation

There are health programs that are designed to reduce the incidence of disorders that are passed down through families, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and osteochondrosis dessicans (OCD).

Poor conformation can cause additional stress and pressure to be exerted on joints, which can eventually lead to the development of arthritis. Poor conformation can also cause joint pain.

If there is a known predisposition in a breed for a given condition, then breeders are strongly encouraged to engage in these programs, and any pups that are going to be used for breeding should have been subjected to the appropriate tests.

In the United Kingdom, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and The Kennel Club are the organizations that are primarily responsible for the majority of these programs.

If you are considering purchasing a puppy of a single breed, you should do some research to determine whether or not that breed is prone to any of these disorders and verify that the breeder has had the parents of the litter tested.

Breeders that are responsible will have had their dogs evaluated, and they should strive to breed in a way that reduces the incidence of any genetic diseases in a breed to the greatest extent feasible.

The best way to avoid having to deal with the sometimes debilitating effects that some inherited conditions that lead to arthritis can have is to carefully select a puppy by informing yourself about its family history.

This is the best way to avoid having to deal with inherited conditions that cause arthritis.

Being Overweight And Exercise

It is also essential to take steps to reduce the impact of environmental factors, which have been shown to play a role in the development of arthritis.

This involves ensuring that your dog is provided food that is appropriate for its age and breed, preventing your dog from becoming overweight, which places additional strain on the joints, and engaging in an amount of exercise that is proportionate to the dog’s age and breed.

Infections And Autoimmune Disease

Joint damage can also be caused by infections and autoimmune diseases, which are conditions in which the body attacks itself and, as a result, damages cartilaginous tissue.


Secondary arthritis can be caused by direct stress on a joint, such as an injury. Once a joint has been wounded, the development of arthritis in that joint is frequently unavoidable in the long run.

On the other hand, effective rehabilitation, effective weight control, suitable exercise, and joint supplements can all assist to halt the progression of the disease and minimize its symptoms.

The Importance Of Beginning Arthritis Treatment As Soon As Possible

Arthritis is a degenerative disorder, which means that it worsens over time as the disease progresses.

Early diagnosis of any joint conditions or injuries, as well as early intervention in the form of treatment and management measures such as weight control and symptomatic relief, can help to slow the progression of arthritis in dogs and improve their quality of life over the long term in dogs that already have the condition.

In addition to this, it is essential to only breed puppies from responsible dog breeders who come from canines without a family history of illnesses that can lead to arthritis.


Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)


What Is The Most Effective Treatment For A Dog Who Suffers From Arthritis?

As was said previously, physical therapy, together with suitable and regular types of exercise, can be incredibly useful for dogs that suffer from arthritis.

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The practice of hydrotherapy, commonly known as water therapy, is beneficial for many diseases. Additionally helpful are holistic treatments such as acupuncture. [Case in point]

How Long Can The Symptoms Of Arthritis In A Dog Last?

Arthritis is a chronic ailment that requires management for the rest of one’s life. Even though arthritis gradually gets worse over time, most dogs can have a happy and healthy life for many years after being diagnosed with the condition if it is properly controlled.

What Are The Earliest Signs That A Dog May Have Arthritis?

The following is a list of the most common indicators that dog owners may notice:
Having trouble getting up and down is difficult.
Stiffening one’s gait
Instability in one or more of the legs.
Reluctance to ascend or descend the stairs of a building.
Reluctance to jump up or down (onto/off furniture or into/out of a vehicle), especially when doing so could potentially cause injury.
Joints that are painful, swollen, or both.

Is Arthritis Really Unpleasant For Dogs To Experience?

Arthritis in dogs, like arthritis in humans, produces changes in the joints that are affected, and these changes can be excruciatingly unpleasant for your dog. Although arthritis can affect any joint, it most frequently affects the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. Arthritis can also affect any joint in the body.

Should You Take A Dog Who Has Arthritis Out For Walks?

Dogs suffering from arthritis will do better with moderate exercise. A pleasant hour spent chasing a ball or playing with another dog is not as beneficial as taking your dog on regular, gentle walks on a leash.

What Can I Offer My Dog At Home To Help Relieve The Pain Of Arthritis?

Arthritis Treatment with Natural and Medicinal Herbs for Dogs Procedure
Comfrey. Comfrey has been shown to alleviate pain and it also has anti-inflammatory effects.
Frankincense. Frankincense is one of the most effective herbal remedies available. …
Yucca. Yucca is a common ingredient included in drugs used to treat arthritis in both humans and animals.

What Factors Contribute To A Dog’s Onset Of Arthritic Symptoms?

Wear and tear on the joints as a result of advancing age, particularly in overweight dogs, is one of the three primary causes of osteoarthritis.

Joint damage in developing puppies, which typically occurs in larger breeds, can be caused by a number of factors, including heredity, excessive exercise, rapid growth, and improper nutrition.

Is There A Treatment For Arthritis In dogs?

Is there a treatment for arthritis? Sadly, this is not the case. It is quite rare for cartilage in the joint(s) of your dog to mend itself fully once it has been damaged.

However, many domesticated animals can be successfully made pain-free by the use of suitable medication for an extended period of time and smart management to prevent further degeneration.

How Rapidly Do Dogs’ Arthritic Symptoms Worsen Over Time?

Because the degradation of the joints and the increase in joint inflammation tend to be gradual over time, osteoarthritis can manifest itself in a dog in a number of different stages. The advancement of arthritis can be very rapid at times, while at other times it may be very slow and take years.

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