What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs, and is also the most common form of arthritis – a painful disease which affects your dogs’ joints.
Arthritis occurs when the protective layers of cartilage that cushion the joints begin to deteriorate causing inflammation and pain.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease and the effects tend to worsen with age.
What are the Common Signs of Osteoarthritis?
Dogs with osteoarthritis tend to display the following clinical signs:
Stiffness after exercise
Difficulty rising, sitting or climbing stairs
Changes in general behaviour
Loss of appetite
How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?
If your veterinary surgeon feels that your dog is displaying any of the common clinical signs, they may recommend carrying out some x-rays, along with a thorough clinical examination. X-rays will involve a general anaesthetic and a stay in the hospital for the day. This can be booked in at any Vetsure clinicand most x-ray results are usually ready by the time your pet is ready to go home.
What Treatment Should I Choose?
Your veterinary practice will provide a complete overview once a diagnosis has been made and they will work with you to provide a treatment plan that is best for your pet. The treatment recommended is generally daily medication or in some cases a special clinical diet and weight loss where appropriate. Exercises and supplements can also be used alongside medications, however your veterinary surgeon will advise you on the best treatment tailored to your pet’s needs.
The following options may be available for the treatment of this condition:
Daily medication – this is a highly effective method of treatment and will be required long term to maintain your pets comfort. A medication called an anti-inflammatory will often be prescribed. Your pet will need to have occasional blood tests just to check their kidney and liver function whilst on long term anti-inflammatories.
A clinical diet can also be used to replace your dog’s normal pet food. Diets come in both wet and dry formulas and are made to be extra tasty for your dog. These diets tend to contain fish oils to maintain joint health.
You can also use supplements such as cod liver oil, or a specific joint supplement can be purchased from your vets.
Dogs with Osteoarthritis can live a long and healthy life following the correct treatment. This condition does require long term management and observations, and they will become a regular visitor at your Veterinary Practice.