Arthritis Treatment for Dogs

If you notice your senior dog is slowing down, playing less and sleeping more, arthritis could be the reason. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease. As a dog ages, the cartilage in their joints begins to thin. This cartilage serves to cushion and protect the joint and if it thins too much, the bones can rub against each other causing more pain and discomfort. Inflammation in the joint capsule can also lead to the development of extra bony growths known as spurs. Any joint in your dog’s body can be affected, but the most common locations are the hips, elbows, knees, wrists, shoulders, ankles, and lower back.

What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?

Symptoms can include:

  • Lameness and stiffness (especially after rest)
  • Slow gait, reluctance to jump, or to be active and difficulty in rising from rest
  • Lethargy and a tendency to sleep more
  • Urinary accidents
  • Muscle wasting and swelling or heat may be observed around affected joints
  • Pain with vocalization when touched
  • Licking of joints
  • Gain or loss of weight
  • Depression or even nervous or aggressive behaviour

What causes arthritis in dogs?

Arthritis is a problem typically seen in older dogs, but can also develop from an early age following problems with bone and joint development. Most cases develop as a result of abnormal rubbing within the joint caused by joint instability (e.g. after ligament damage), damage to or abnormal cartilage development, or damage caused by trauma (e.g. fractures).

What are some treatment options for arthritis in dogs?

At Westwood Veterinary Hospital, we establish a treatment plan individualized to each dog. The treatment for arthritis in dogs is generally geared toward reducing pain and maintaining muscle mass and joint mobility. Weight loss/management may be discussed as well.

Can I give my dog Aspirin?

Veterinarians do prescribe Aspirin for dogs sometimes, but Aspirin has some severe side effects that dog owners need to be aware of. Before you give Aspirin to your pet, talk to your veterinarian first.

Last updated: Sep 16, 2022

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- Your dedicated team at Westwood Veterinary Hospital