Arthritis affects as many as one in six dogs. The condition can, however, be treated and with the right programme the change in a dog’s behaviour is often amazing.
Arthritis can affect a dog of any age and is a progressive disease. It is generally due simply to the wear-and-tear of normal daily activity on the different structures of the joints.
Some degree of arthritis is inevitable in geriatric dogs. There is a strong inherited element also, which is why it is more common in certain breeds (labradors, retrievers, German shepherds and others ).
Signs of arthritis include: reduced activity (reluctance to walk, play, jump or climb stairs ),
Limping or lagging behind on walks,
Difficulty rising from rest, particularly in the morning,
Increased aggression, irritability or yelping in pain when touched,
Licking or chewing a particular joint.
If your dog has one or more of these symptoms it is a good idea to have the condition diagnosed professionally.
Sometimes owners attribute their dog’s reduced activity and stiffening of legs to old age and think that nothing can be done - which is not always the case. Surprisingly, you may discover that your dog is not lame in any one leg but is suffering pain in all joints, indicating muscle wastage, often a secondary effect of arthritis.
Once the diagnosis of arthritis has been made, a treatment programme can be agreed with your vet. This usually involves diet, conservative treatment, and medication.
The results of such a programme can be remarkable and the quality of a dog’s life can improve dramatically.
Moy Vet Services is offering free arthritis consultation until November 11.
Phone 086 2010802 or 091 638532 to make an appointment.