Written by: Alison Laurie, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness
As dogs get older, many owners know that they are bound to suffer from a few aches and pains, and become less active and mobile, or generally lose their ‘spark’. But it’s not always old age that is the culprit. It could be osteoarthritis.
Suffering from osteoarthritis often leads to pain and decreased flexibility, which makes walking, running and generally getting around painful and more difficult and awkward than usual.
What is Canine Osteoarthritis?
Canine Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling in the soft tissues and bones of a dog's joints. The stifle (knee), elbow and hips are the most commonly affected joints, although osteoarthritis could affect any joint in your dog’s body. Osteoarthritis can affect any dog - cross-breed, pedigree, big or small – although it’s more common in older dogs and in the larger dog breeds. The early signs can be hard to spot, because dogs tend not to show pain. Instead, they express pain through subtle changes in their behaviour, such as becoming more withdrawn or less playful. If you see changes in your dog’s demeanour or mobility then do arrange an appointment with us for a thorough check up to check for symptoms of osteoarthritis. This can allow for any appropriate investigation if required, such as x-rays, or advanced CT imaging to be arranged, as well as starting an appropriate therapy for your pet.
Some of the signs to look out for are:
- Changes in demeanour
- Sleeping a lot
- Stiffness especially after rest
- Reluctance to move
- Abnormal vocalisation
- Reluctance to jump up
- Aggressive or defensive when touched
- Difficulty bending down to eat or drink
- Poor mobility on slippy surfaces
- Difficulty in lying down and getting up