We probably have heard a lot about Osteoarthritis (OA), but mostly in humans. Sadly this degenerative disease can also affect our furry friends. OA, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is defined as the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. It can thicken the joint capsule, form “new” bone around the joint (osteophytosis) and ultimately leading to pain and limb dysfunction. OS is the most common form of arthritis in dogs, affecting approximately a quarter of the population. Majority of OA in a dog occur secondarily to developmental orthopedic disease, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patella (knee cap) dislocation, among others. However , OA can occur with no obvious primary causes and can be related to genetic and age. Other factors that can contribute to OA include bodyweight, gender, breed (German Shepards, Labs…) exercise, and diet.
Some of the signs that your dog might have OA are:
- Stiffness, lameness, or difficulty getting up, going up/downstairs
- Weight gain
- Reluctance to run, jump, or play
- Irritability or changes in behavior
- Pain when petted or touched
- Loss of muscle mass
- Difficult positions (trouble urinating, sitting…)
Please be observant of your pet’s behaviour and go to the Vet. OA is a progressive disease and is no known cure. Preventing is the best option : diet, exercise, animal chiropractic and even the use of protective joint supplements, like Glucosamine & Chondroitin.
Animal chiropractors examine and treat areas of biomechanics and the functional nervous system in your pet, it focuses on the preservation and health of the nerves/muscles/bones=neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Animal chiropractors take pos graduate studies in accordance with the AVCA-American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, and take continue education classes. Its a great alternative care for your pets, it DOESN’T substitute your Veterinarian. Along with your Vet, chiropractors can help your furry one feel better and have a happier, healthier life. Always consult with your Vet.