All About Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Stiff and painful joints in your dog can be caused by several things but Osteoarthritis is the most common reason. Read on for advice and useful information about this common condition in dogs.

Osteoarthitis in Dogs

What is Osteoarthritis?

Arthrosis, or osteoarthritis as it is also called, means simply explained that there is an imbalance in the breakdown and build-up of the cartilage in the joint. The cartilage therefore breaks down faster than it is built up. There are two varieties of osteoarthritis in dogs; primary and secondary.

  • Primary arthrosis in dogs can occur without underlying causes or, for example, that the joint is abnormally shaped since birth.
  • Secondary arthrosis which can be due to natural ageing, the consequence of other diseases such as elbow and hip dysplasia or an injury.

In a joint with osteoarthritis, abnormal load and friction form, which sets off an inflammatory process in the cartilage, which in turn leads to its breakdown. Osteoarthritis is thus a degenerative process on the cartilage that affects the function of the joint. The risk of developing it is higher the older the dog gets, but even young dogs can be affected.


What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs can vary widely. Although lameness, pain, stiff joints and movement restriction are symptoms of the disease, dogs show it in different ways and they are unfortunately often good at hiding that they are bothered by their joints. There are several symptoms that can reflect your dog is suffering from osteoarthritis:

  • Behavioural changes – your dog may seem depressed, tired or aggressive
  • Stiffness after rest or in the morning
  • Stiff joints or lameness that comes and goes and gets worse after exercise
  • Changed movement pattern
  • Difficult to settle down at night
  • Difficulty standing up or lying down
  • Disinterest in long walks or play
  • Swollen or warm joints
  • Reluctance to do work, climb stairs or jump
  • The dog licks and gnaws on body parts where it has problems

If your dog has any of the above symptoms, it is important that you see a veterinarian who can examine your dog’s stiff joints and diagnose from there.


Osteoarthritis Treatment for Dogs

There is much to do to both prevent and treat a dog with osteoarthritis. With the right treatment and necessary lifestyle changes, many dogs can have a better quality of life and less pain. By maintaining a healthy weight and giving your dog good exercise, you can prevent osteoarthritis. A good muscle mass provides good conditions by providing good support for the dog’s joints.

The treatment for a dog with osteoarthritis is often medication but also lifestyle changes if necessary. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis currently, but you can ease the pain and slow down the rate of deterioration. Regular physical activity is important, and if the dog is overweight, it is important that it loses weight, as this can speed up the breakdown process of the cartilage. Short, frequent walks on soft ground are better than long, fewer walks for a dog with stiff joints. Together with your veterinarian or a physiotherapist, you can get help in setting up a good exercise schedule for your dog. The medical treatment often consists of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medication, NSAIDs and sometimes cortisone. One can also supplement with physiotherapy, massage, water exercise, acupuncture and nutritional supplements.


Nutritional Supports

Vets also recommend supplements that can promote joint health for dogs suffering with osteoarthritis, glucosamine being one such. Glucosamine is a component that we already have in articular cartilage and in synovial fluid and which can contribute to better joint health, prevent problems in the joints and inhibit the breakdown of cartilage. Glucosamine comes in different forms, but it is glucosamine sulfate that has been shown to be the most effective and bioavailable according to studies on osteoarthritis of the knee in humans.

We have several products for your dog’s joint health! Arthri Aid Omega contains contains high levels of glucosamine in the form of glucosamine sulfate and can be a good supplement for your dog’s joints. In addition to glucosamine, Arthri Aid Omega also contains omega-3 and 6, which are important for the joints, and chondroitin, which helps the body’s natural production of cartilage. For more information or advice on supplementation, please click here or contact us.