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Signs of Joint Pain in Dogs: Types, Causes and Treatment

Joint pain is a common problem among dogs regardless of their age. It can affect their quality of life, and if left unattended, it can result in serious health issues. Identifying this pain can be challenging unless you are aware of the symptoms. Our vets in Meadow Vista provide a comprehensive guide to joint pain in dogs, covering different types of joint pain, its causes, and available treatment options.

Joint pain is a common issue that dogs can experience regardless of their breed or age. However, senior dogs are more likely to develop joint pain.

Although some dog owners may assume that their furry friend is simply "slowing down" due to old age, this is not always the case. Joint pain can be the culprit behind such behavior.

If left untreated, it can lead to more severe conditions and injuries. Our veterinary specialists have compiled information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for your dog's joint pain.

Types and Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Two possible varieties of joint issues can be causing your dog pain: degenerative and developmental joint pain. 

Developmental Joint Issues

Dogs can have joint problems from birth due to genetics that affect how their joints grow when they're young. Larger breeds of dogs are more likely to have serious issues like elbow or hip problems, but joint issues can occur in dogs of any size.

For instance, Rottweilers are prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems, Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly develop elbow dysplasia, and Newfoundlands are among the breeds that are most susceptible to developing problems in their cruciate ligament.

If you're planning to buy a dog from a breeder, it's a good idea to inquire about any genetic predispositions that their breed or lineage may have to joint issues. A reputable breeder should be able to provide you with this information without prompting, but it's always wise to ask.

Degenerative Joint Issues

Degenerative joint issues in dogs are the result of repeated use of their joints, which can cause the cartilage to wear down or tendons to become injured. The most common type of joint problem is the cruciate ligament issue, where the tissues degenerate gradually with time and repeated use, leading to severe pain and problems later on.

These joint problems can have various causes, such as stress fractures, injuries, or osteoarthritis. They tend to occur more frequently in larger dogs due to the additional stress on their joints over time, caused by their weight.

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

It can sometimes be challenging to detect joint pain in your dog. Dogs are known for their stoic nature, and they may continue to play energetically even when they're young, which can exacerbate their condition.

However, below are some of the most typical signs of joint pain that your furry friend may exhibit:

  • Lethargy
  • Limping and stiffness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Frequent slipping while moving about
  • Licking, chewing, or biting the affected area

If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it might be time to bring them to your Meadow Vista vet to examine them for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treatments For Joint Pain In Dogs 

It's important to know that how your vet treats your dog's joint pain depends on the severity and cause of the pain. Surgery may be necessary if your dog is suffering from hip or elbow problems. However, if it's an early-stage joint issue, your vet may recommend a combination of good food, exercise, and therapy to ease the pain. 

Regardless of the specific treatment plan, the ultimate goal is to help your dog get back to their regular level of activity and mobility. This is crucial for their long-term health, as well-developed muscles around their joints can help to reduce the load on those joints. An active dog is a healthy dog.

Most treatment plans will also involve assessing your dog's weight in relation to their size. If they are overweight, they are putting extra strain on their joints, and a diet may be prescribed to help reduce the weight their pained joints have to bear.

To learn more about how we can assess, diagnose, and treat your pup, contact Meadow Vista Veterinary Clinic today. We will be more than happy to examine your dog's joints and speak with you about the possible causes and treatments for their discomfort. 

New Patients Welcome

Meadow Vista Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients including dogs, cats and large animals. Get in touch today to book your first appointment.

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