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Canine Arthritis

Arthritis Pain In Dogs


Most Aging Dogs Will Develop Canine Arthritis

Canine arthritis can be painful for any aging dog and although there are no miracle cures, if your older dog is suffering from this illness, you can make their life more comfortable. When it comes to illnesses in dogs such as arthritis, you will find many are similar to our own human illnesses. Arthritic joints are something we all share when we get older.

If you find your dog is beginning to suffer from arthritis pain, he (or she) deserves the same attention that we give ourselves. Even when showing the earliest arthritic signs, it is recommended to begin treatment while there is still reasonable joint function left to preserve. Promoting joint and cartilage health may include providing active ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, perna caniculus, or creatine as well as miscellaneous vitamin and minerals. There are many different products to help relieve arthritic pain.

What is Canine Arthritis?

Canine arthritis is a joint condition that affects aging dogs, however, if your dog has had a traumatic experience and injures a joint, early arthritis could set in. Joints are responsible for movement and when they become stiff, swolen, and painful your dog could become listless. Joints are made up of a joint cavity filled with synovial fluid, a synovial membrane, and particular cartilage.

The particular cartilage acts as a shock absorber and a smooth gliding surface for bones within the joint. The synovial fluid acts as both a lubricant and a source of nutrition for the cartilage. Understand that there are two major building blocks for cartilage synthesis which will decrease with age and start the onset of canine arthritis. They are Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

Importance of Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and Chondroitin both work together to improve the health of joint cartilage. Since joint health depends on the continued health of this cartilage, this is an important benefit. Cartilage is made up of collagen, hyaluronic acid (component of synovial fluid), and glycosaminoglycans. These components are constantly being replenished in order to maintain strength and resilience.

This rebuilding process creates a large demand for the building blocks utilized in this process. If this process breakdowns, eventually Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) will set in. This is commonly called canine arthritis and can be very painful. Debilitating diseases such as canine arthritis and canine hip dysplasia are often common in older dogs, however, canine hip dysplasia can also be found in young dogs.

Early Signs of Canine Arthritis:

Difficulty getting up in morning
Stiffness in gait while walking
Limping while walking
Reluctance to run and play
Reluctance to jump
Reluctance to walk
Difficulty climbing stairs
Swelling of joints
Lagging behind during walks
Personality change
Yelping when touched
Difficulty rising after lying down

Types of Canine Arthritis:

Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
Hip Dysplasia
Shoulder (degeneration)
Elbow (dysplasia)
Knee (dysplasia)
Knee (stifle joint)
Kneecap (dislocation)
Wrist (carpi)
Swelling of joints


Based on history of dog/breed
Analyze joint fluid
Radiography to assess changes
Palpation of the joints
Assessing clinical signs

Available Treatments:

Deal with weight problem
Surgical repair
Acupuncture for pain maintenance
Herbal medicine
Anti-inflammatory medications

Canine Arthritis Treatments

There are a few choices we have for canine arthritis treatments. These treatments can help aleviate pain and stiffness in our aging, arthritic dogs.

Glucosamine and Chondroitan:  The most common treatment used today for joint pain in dogs is neutraceuticals which contain glucosamine and chondroitan. Glucosamine is derived from shellfish tissue, and chondroitan is derived from animal products. They are given to dogs suffering from arthritis and joint pain, in order to rebuild the cartilage that cushions and protects the joints. Many holistic veterinarians see nutraceuticals as extension of an animal's natural diet, adding to the nutrition animals should be getting from their environment but are not getting from their processed pet food. They are generally safe for long term use, and offer no side effects.

NSAIDs:  NSAIDs are products we are all familiar with. They can be found in just about everyone's medicine cabinet. Examples include Aspirin, Acetominophen, Motrin, and Ibuprofen. Asprin can have tremendous benefits if used properly and under veterinary supervision. These medications can also be very harmful. Care should be taken when using anti-inflamatories. Always discuss any NSAIDs medication use with your veternarian.


Please Note:  Always consult your dog's veterinarian before making any dog health care decisions. Your veternarian will be able to help you decide the best course of action when it comes to caring for your dog.

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