If your family got Fido when he was just a puppy that means years of running after balls and the kids and jumping off the backyard deck. This means years of pounding on the joints and the hips that can lead to lots of problems as your dog ages.
Years of play
More use means the more injuries and leads to joint-related problems such as ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears and osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis, known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) is caused by advanced and permanent long-term weakening of the cartilage adjoining to the joints. Arthritis is the term for inflammation of the joints, while osteoarthritis is the term that is referring to a type of chronic joint inflammation that is caused by deterioration of joint cartilage. The older dogs and large dogs are at the highest risk.
Add aging to deterioration
All the pounding as a pup and then with the beginning of aging, many diseases that affect the joints can develop, so many, in fact there are about ten major classifications.
Some joint disease, like arthritis, affects the joint membranes themselves. Other types of joint conditions affect tendons, cartilage, fluid, and bursa within the joints. Joint disorders might be congenital in some dog breeds or may be the result of injury to the joint, abnormal development, immune-related conditions, or infections.
Joint diseases occur as a result of:
- Ligament, tendon, or muscle disease such as ruptured anterior cruciate ligament;
- Development disorders such as hip dysplasia;
- Fractures involving the joint;
- Congenital disorder such as cervical spondylomyelopathy;
- Metabolic disorders which is haemophilia in dogs;
- Dietary and hormonal disease such as obesity or problems with thyroids;
- Degenerative diseases of the joint such as osteoarthritis;
- Inflammatory joint disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease;
- Degenerative spinal joint disease;
- And others.
The large breed dogs usually develop problems earlier as they have more propensities for joint and hip diseases.
Aches and pains
The pain that dogs get can take many forms from mild to more severe, aches that are dull to pain that is sharp. Dogs are unable to tell us when they are in pain so it is vital to look for various signs:
- Stiff or slow when first getting up;
- Problems getting up and down;
- Joint swelling;
- Trouble with stair climbing;
- Favoring or limping with one leg and frequently holding it off the ground.
Regular vet visits
This is why getting a vet check up every two years is important since the owners might not know that their dog is having any problems. But the vet is often able to pick up early signs of hip, joint and ligament problems. It is also important that if your dog gets injured to see the vet to take care of any problems since if left untreated they can turn into serious diseases and problems that won’t go away.
It is important that your dogs are maintaining a healthy weight and exercise before any of these problems get out of hand and becoming expensive with treatments, supplements and medications.
With proper care dogs can live for years and years with joint problems as the treatment vet’s now have were not heard of years ago. If joint issues are affecting your dog then you also might want to check out PuppyWire’s guide to the best glucosamine for dogs. That can help them with pain and get them back to normal.