Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis in Dogs

Is your dog’s joint swollen after a fall and does it hurt when you feel it? Then the joint could be inflamed. Read here how you can recognize arthritis in your dog and how you can help your pet.

Arthritis or Osteoarthritis: What Are the Differences?

If your dog suffers from arthritis (joint inflammation), one or more joints will become inflamed. Arthritis causes the affected joints to become painfully swollen and red.

This is different with osteoarthritis (joint wear). In this case, the articular cartilage is slowly and progressively degraded. The underlying bones rub against each other. As a result, the joint slowly becomes inflamed and cysts grow on the bones.

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Symptoms: what is bothering your dog?

In general, the following symptoms are associated with inflammation:

  • The organ swells.
  • The tissue turns red.
  • Your dog reacts painfully.
  • The inflamed area becomes warm.
  • The organ loses its function.
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Depending on the cause, you may recognize the following:

  • Your dog sleeps a lot.
  • Your four-legged friend’s appetite is reduced.
  • Your dog is stumbling and unable to move.
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Diagnosis: How can you diagnose arthritis in your dog?

If your dog’s joint swells or he’s hopping, get him checked out by a vet. He usually recognizes arthritis quickly on the basis of physical characteristics. To prove the suspicion, veterinarians use the diagnostic options below.

  • A blood test: In arthritis, the number of inflammatory cells in the blood increases.
  • Imaging processes: An X-ray can distinguish arthritis from osteoarthritis and other joint problems.
  • A puncture: Using a cannula, veterinarians can take the joint fluid (synovial fluid) and examine it for inflammation.
  • An arthroscopy (keyhole surgery): The doctor opens the joint and can get a better look at it using a small camera.
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Therapy: How Is Canine Arthritis Treated?

Veterinarians treat joint inflammation in dogs in different ways depending on the cause. The vet gives anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs to reduce inflammation.

If the vet has diagnosed a bacterial infection, your dog will mostly need antibiotics. If this is not enough, the vet may need to open and rinse the joint under anesthesia. Sometimes the joint needs to be strengthened, which can protect the dog from more serious damage.

With targeted treatment, additional supportive measures promote the healing process. For example, you can cool your dog’s joint with the help of bandages. Another way to speed up the healing process is through physiotherapy. In addition, in everyday life, you should make sure that you relieve your dog sufficiently and avoid painful movements such as jumping.

If your dog is overweight, you should think about its diet. You can inform yourself about this at a vet or simply calculate the amount of food yourself. In addition, it is advisable to exercise more with your dog.

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Prognosis: What Are the Cure Chances?

If you have your dog examined early and he receives targeted treatment, the chance of a cure is good. However, if your dog suffers from chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis, the prognosis is less good. In this case, you can improve the quality of life by watching your dog’s weight and giving him relieving medication.

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Causes: what are the causes of

Several causes can cause joint inflammation in your dog. For a better overview, the causes of arthritis in dogs are summarized below:

1. Open wounds

If your dog is injured so badly that the joint is open, bacteria and dirt can get in. This in turn can cause inflammation. It’s not just open wounds that can lead to arthritis in dogs. Even if your dog has bad teeth, for example, germs can get into the joints via the tooth root and the circulatory system.

Arthritis in Dogs

2. Non-Contagious Causes

So-called aseptic arthritis occurs when your dog hurts his joint. This is done by flipping it over or in the event of a bruise from a fall. Overweight or overload due to sports can also have a negative effect on the health of dogs. Then the body reacts with an inflammatory response to the stimuli.

3. Immune Related Causes

The body of dogs with rheumatic complaints attacks their own articular cartilage. The reason for this is as yet unexplained. This is an autoimmune reaction, which usually triggers arthritis, so-called polyarthritis, in several places in the body.

4. Infectious Causes

Some causative agents of infections are more likely to lead to arthritis in dogs. These include borrelia or leishmania, for example.


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