Sometimes you may notice that your dog is moving slower than usual, or maybe even limping. This might be an indication that your dog is experiencing some hip or joint discomfort.
No matter how old your dog is, it can develop joint complications. However, older dogs are more prone due to age and sometimes due to natural joint and bone health deterioration. Still, some dog breeds are more prone to joint problems than other breeds.
Though hip joint pain is the most common, dogs can also experience pain in their knees, elbows, and shoulders. Some dogs may even develop pain between their spinal vertebrae.
Therefore, dog owners need to diagnose the cause of the joint pain to treat it effectively. There are some cases where the pain may not be fully eliminated. In such cases, the dog may need to be under constant medications to manage the pain.
What are the Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs?
Generally, joint complications in dogs fall under two major classes; degenerative and developmental. Degenerative causes the ligaments around the joints to regress over time. On the other hand, developmental occurs when the dog’s joints do not develop properly, thus failing to function as intended.
These causes are narrowed down as follows
This is a condition that occurs when the hip socket fails to form correctly. It causes pain in the joints, irritation, and inflammation because the bone does not fit properly into the socket.
Although this condition can affect all dog breeds, it is common in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, meaning that it can be passed down from one generation to the other.
However, Hip Dysplasia can be triggered by factors such as obesity and lack of adequate exercise. Though this condition can affect dogs at any age, it is more prevalent in older dogs.
This condition affects older dogs. It is caused by wear on the dog’s joints. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint part of the body, including the shoulders, elbows, hips, back, and knees.
Osteochondritis Disseceans affects shoulders and hip joints. This condition occurs when there is a flaw in the smooth cartilage surface of a dog’s joint. This causes the cartilage to develop abnormally on the end of the bone, creating a separation from the underlying bone. This causes pain and discomfort in the dog’s joint.
Sometimes, surgery might be necessary if a piece of cartilage breaks and loosely float in the dog’s joints. It causes pain, and until it is removed, it will continue to trigger pain and cause discomfort.
Panosteitis occurs as a result of inflammation on the dog’s long bone surfaces. This condition is also referred to as a growing pain because it is related to a rapid growth in younger dogs.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Joint Pain
If your dog is suffering from joint pain, it may need an x-ray for a proper assessment. In most cases, dogs may rarely show any signs of illness. That is why you need to understand your dog well so that you can notice any abnormality in its behavior.
Sometimes your dog might display some changes in attitude or sleep patterns. It may also lack interest in playing. These signs can be hard to notice, but if you are careful enough, you will have a clue of how your dog is feeling.
When treating your dog for joint pain, there are various approaches to adopt. Sometimes simple pain management techniques can help reduce pain. A veterinarian may recommend some medication to relieve joint pain to improve the dog’s quality of life.
The veterinarian might also prescribe some supplements like Dasuquin for improving joint health in dogs. Apart from supplements, your dog’s veterinarian may decide to administer some injections to lubricate the dog’s joints if necessary.
Make sure your dog keeps exercises to the minimum when recovering from joint pains. Besides, water therapy is an excellent option for a dog with joint pain. You can also adopt other treatment approaches like a massage to provide pain relief for your dog.
Always make sure that your dog sleeps in a warm and dry place. The moist environment can sometimes worsen its joint pain. In some rare cases, when other treatment options have failed, surgery may be necessary. However, surgery should not be your first option when treating joint pain. It should be adopted when all other options have failed to work.