osteoarthritis in dogs is a degenerative disease that is estimated to affect almost 25% of the world dog population, inexorably deteriorating the quality of life of the animal, and that usually occurs more frequently in large breeds. Let's see what it is, how it is diagnosed, how it is treated and which dogs are more likely 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 cartilage of the joints, where there are also changes in the synovial membrane and in the tissues that surround the joint.
The result is a mild but continuous inflammation, which translates into episodes of constant pain as a consequence of the lack of cushioning in the insertion area of the bones in elbow, wrist, knee, spine, or hip.
The diagnosis of osteoarthritis in dogs is always made by the veterinarian through a thorough examination, which can sometimes be accompanied by radiographs. However, there are certain symptoms that reveal this condition in dogs:
- He limps when walking or refuses to do physical exercise.
- He has difficulty getting up and moving.
- Moans, growls or cries more frequently.
- Spends more time prostrated in very rigid postures.
- Reacts aggressively if we try to palpate the affected area.
- Loses appetite.
The treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs is palliative, since nothing can be done to stop the progression of the disease. The only option left is to relieve the symptoms to facilitate the dog's quality of life as much as possible.
On the one hand, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to try to reduce local inflammation and relieve the sensation of pain, although the main measure that is usually adopted is a treatment based on chondroprotectors such as hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
Finally, it is essential that the dog can rest, since it will tend to fall asleep worse because of this continuous pain. We recommend a comfortable and ergonomic mattress, that adapts to your body and its size, such as the memory foam mattress balukaDREAM that we develop in Baluka .
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Dog breeds suffering from osteoarthritis
As we will see below, there are certain breeds of dogs that are more likely 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 likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, as shown in a study undertaken by the Royal Veterinary College, belonging to the University of London
The clinical study concluded, after observing almost half a million specimens, that this breed had special genetic factors that made it the greatest candidate for the development of osteoarthritis.
Labrador / Golden Retriever
These very similar breeds are characterized by being prone to developing 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.
As happens to Labradors and Golden Retriever, the German Shepherd is very prone to developing hip dysplasia. In this case, dysplasia usually 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 accelerate much more than in other breeds, since their life expectancy is significantly lower (a maximum of 8 years).
These big good-natured guys aren't immune to joint ailments either: their large size and weight mean their tendons are at constant risk of injury since adulthood. Their joints also suffer from these consequences from an earlier 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.