Dogs are known for their playful and active nature, but just like humans, they can develop a range of health conditions that can impact their quality of life.
Arthritis is the most common joint disease diagnosed in veterinary medicine that affects many dogs across the UK, causing pain and discomfort in their joints. If left untreated, arthritis can significantly impact a dog’s mobility, making it difficult for them to engage in activities they once enjoyed.
However, with early detection and swift action, there is hope for dogs suffering from arthritis. In this blog, we will explore the signs and symptoms of arthritis in dogs and discuss some of the latest breakthrough treatment options available to help your furry friend live a happy, healthy life.
Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
Recognising the signs and symptoms of arthritis in dogs is essential for early detection and treatment of the condition. Here are a few of the most common:
Limping or favouring one leg
One of the most common signs of arthritis in dogs is limping or favouring one leg. Dogs with arthritis often develop a noticeable limp, especially after periods of rest. They may also favour one leg over the other, indicating discomfort in the affected joint.
If you notice either of these in your dog, it is important to take them to the vet for a thorough examination.
Stiffness or difficulty getting up from a lying or sitting position
Dogs with arthritis may display discomfort and stiffness as they move and rise, indicating pain in the affected joints. This can be especially noticeable in the back legs first thing in the morning or after a long period of rest.
If you think your dog is noticeably struggling with arthritis in their back legs you should always investigate what is causing this issue.
Reluctance to climb stairs or jump onto furniture
Arthritic dogs may become hesitant to climb stairs or jump onto furniture due to the pain and discomfort associated with these activities. They may also be hesitant to engage in other physical activities that they once enjoyed, such as running or playing fetch.
If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s activity level, it may be a sign of arthritis and you should contact your local vet.
Swelling around the joints
In some cases, dogs with arthritis may exhibit visible swelling around their joints, indicating inflammation. Swelling may be more noticeable in the morning or after your dog has been resting.
Even if your dog is moving fluidly and there seems to be no significant impact on their mobility, if you notice swelling around your dog’s joints, it is important to have them examined by a vet.
Changes in behaviour, such as irritability or lethargy
Arthritis can cause dogs to become irritable or lethargic due to the ongoing discomfort they experience. This can result in changes to their normal behaviour patterns, such as increased aggression or a lack of interest in playtime.
As a dog owner, you will know your pet’s personality and temperament well so keep an eye out for any changes to their mood or behaviour as this can be an early indicator that they are suffering.
Non-Medical Tips for Improving Quality of Life for Dogs with Arthritis
While we recommend you take your dog to see the vet if you notice any of the symptoms above, there are still a few steps you, yourself can take to ensure their comfort.
Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet
One of the most effective ways to alleviate pressure on arthritic joints is to ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight. A balanced diet rich in fresh vegetables and supplemented with essential nutrients can help reduce inflammation and promote joint health.
Regular, low-impact exercise is crucial for dogs with arthritis. Activities like walking or swimming can help strengthen their muscles and improve joint mobility. Be mindful of your dog’s comfort levels and adjust their exercise routine accordingly.
If your dog is not used to activities such as swimming or pre-diagnosis, be sure to stick to what they are familiar with or ease them into the activity very gently to avoid aggravating the condition further.
Making small changes to your dog’s living environment can significantly improve their quality of life. Consider providing orthopaedic or heated beds for added comfort and installing ramps or stairs to assist with mobility around the home.
It is important to transition your dog slowly to new environmental adjustments as large changes may cause additional distress.
Massage and physical therapy
Massage can help improve circulation, alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation in dogs with arthritis. Consult with a professional to learn appropriate techniques or consider seeking the services of a certified canine massage therapist.
Hydrotherapy can help to improve joint mobility and range of motion and build muscle in a non-weight-bearing environment, and most dogs ( though not all) enjoy swimming.
Breakthrough Treatment Options: Stem Cell Therapy
Arthritis can be a painful and debilitating disease that can significantly impact your dog’s quality of life. Fortunately, stem cell therapy is an innovative treatment option that shows fantastic
results in treating arthritis in dogs.
Stem cell therapy works by using stem cells to replace or repair damaged tissue within the affected joint. These cells have the unique ability to differentiate into a variety of different cell types, including bone, cartilage, and muscle cells. Unlike traditional treatments for arthritis that mainly focus on managing symptoms, stem cell therapy aims to repair the underlying damage and address the root cause of the disease.
The benefits of stem cell therapy for dogs with arthritis are numerous. In addition to reducing inflammation, repairing joint damage and relieving pain and stiffness, stem cell therapy can lead to significant improvements in mobility and overall quality of life. Many pet owners have reported a dramatic improvement in their dog’s comfort levels, allowing them to resume activities they once enjoyed.
To maximise the benefits of stem cell therapy, it is advisable to combine it with the non-medical tips outlined above. These measures can help prolong the effects of stem cell therapy and ensure your dog stays healthy and comfortable for as long as possible.
If you are considering stem cell therapy for your dog’s arthritis, it is important to consult with a qualified veterinarian. They can assess your dog’s condition and determine if stem cell therapy is a suitable treatment option.
In conclusion, by being vigilant in recognising the signs and symptoms, dog owners can take early action to improve their pet’s quality of life if suffering from arthritis. Non-medical interventions and minimally invasive therapies can significantly enhance a dog’s comfort and mobility as well as breakthrough treatment options like stem cell therapy.
By educating ourselves and taking a proactive approach to our pets’ health, we can ensure they enjoy the highest possible quality of life.