Osteoarthritis in dogs is a degenerative disease that is estimated to affect almost 25% of the world's canine population, which inexorably deteriorates the quality of life of the animal, and tends to occur more frequently in large breeds. Let's see what it is, how it is diagnosed, how it is treated and which dogs are more prone to suffer from it.
What is osteoarthritis in dogs?
Osteoarthritis (or osteoarthritis ) is a joint disease that usually affects adult dogs and consists of a progressive degeneration of the joint cartilage, where changes also occur in the synovial membrane and tissues surrounding the joint.
The result is a mild but continuous inflammation, which results in episodes of constant pain as a consequence of the lack of cushioning in the insertion area of the bones in the elbow, wrist, knee, spine or hip.
The diagnosis of osteoarthritis in dogs is always made by the veterinarian by means of a thorough examination, which can sometimes be accompanied by radiographs. However, there are certain symptoms that give away this ailment in dogs:
- He limps when walking or refuses to do physical exercise.
- It feels difficulties when getting up and moving.
- Whines, growls or cries more frequently.
- Spends more time prostrate in very rigid postures.
- Reacts aggressively if we try to touch the affected area.
- Loses appetite.
The treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs is palliative in nature, since nothing can be done to stop the progression of the disease. The only option left is to alleviate the symptoms to facilitate the dog's quality of life as much as possible.
On the one hand, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually administered to try to reduce local inflammation and alleviate the sensation of pain, although the main measure usually adopted is a treatment based on chondroprotectors such as hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
These drugs are often supported by food supplements with anti-inflammatory properties, such as Baluka's vitamin supplement balukaVIT, rich in turmeric (a potent anti-inflammatory).
On the other hand, it is recommended that the dog, within its limitations, do as much physical exercise as possible to avoid gaining weight, since canine obesity is an aggravating factor of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A special diet and some complementary physiotherapy treatments will help the animal to better cope with the pain.
Finally, it is essential for the dog to be able to rest, as it will tend to sleep worse because of this continuous pain. We recommend a comfortable and ergonomic mattress, which adapts to its body and size, such as the viscoelastic mattress balukaDREAM that we developed at Baluka.
Our viscoelastic mattress
Has your name embroidered on it
Takes care of his bones
Best for dogs with dysplasia or osteoarthritis.
Dog breeds suffering from osteoarthritis
As we will see below, there are certain breeds of dogs that are more prone than others to suffer from osteoarthritis. Size is a risk factor, although this does not mean that all large breeds will suffer from it and that all small or medium breeds are potentially exempt.
Dogs of the Rottweiler breed are the most prone to suffer from osteoarthritis, as demonstrated by a study undertaken by the Royal Veterinary College, part of the University of London.
The clinical study concluded, after observing almost half a million dogs, that this breed had special genetic factors that made it a prime candidate for the development of osteoarthritis.
Labrador / Golden Retriever
These very similar breeds are characterized by being prone to develop joint problems such as hip dysplasia; their genetic factors also predispose them to suffer from different types of joint ailments, osteoarthritis being one of the most frequent.
Like Labradors and Golden Retrievers, the German Shepherd is very prone to develop hip dysplasia. In this case, dysplasia often ends up being the trigger for osteoarthritis.
Dogue de Bordeaux
The large size of the Dogue de Bordeaux also makes it a candidate for developing osteoarthritis. In this case, the effects are much more accelerated than in other breeds, since their life expectancy is considerably shorter (a maximum of 8 years).
These big bonny dogs are not spared from joint ailments either: their large size and weight mean that their tendons are at constant risk of injury from adulthood onwards. Their joints also suffer from these consequences from an early age, making them more likely to develop dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
The best way to treat osteoarthritis in dogs is to anticipate and seek early detection of the disease: the sooner care begins, the more joint degeneration will be attenuated, and the dog will enjoy a better quality of life for more years.