Is your dog getting old or is it something else?
As dogs get older, many owners think they re bound to suffer from a few aches and pains, become less active or generally lose their Get up and go. But it s not always age that s the culprit. It could be osteoarthritis! Suffering from osteoarthritis often leads to pain and decreased flexibility, which makes walking, running and generally getting around more difficult than usual.
Could your dog enjoy life more?
What is Canine Osteoarthritis (OA)?
Canine OA is a chronic, degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling in the soft tissues and bones of a dog s joints. The stifle (knee), elbow and hips are the most commonly affected joints although OA could affect any joint in your dog s body. Osteoarthritis can affect any dog — cross-breed, pedigree, big or small – although it s more common in older dogs and larger breeds. The signs can be hard to spot, because dogs are genetically programmed not to show pain. Instead, they express pain through changes in behaviour, such as becoming withdrawn or less playful. If you see changes in your dogs demeanour or mobility ask one of our vets to check for osteoarthritis. This can allow for appropriate investigation, such as x-rays to be arranged as well as starting appropriate therapy.
Some of the signs to look out for:
-Change in demeanour
-Stiffness especially after rest
-Reluctance to move
-Aggressive or defensive when touched
Treatments that reduce pain and inflammation to help improve mobility have been at the
heart of osteoarthritis therapy for many years. Happily of course, things don t stand still —
so we are always looking for improved therapies or combinations to help your dog. If you
think your dog may have osteoarthritis — or if the condition has already been diagnosed —
please ask of our vets about the range of treatment options that we offer.What treatments can we offer?
-Access to a wide range of anti-inflammatory/pain killer medications including Metacam and
-High quality animal specific joint supplements from the Synoquin range. for more information
-Courses of Cartrophen injections which is a disease modifying drug. for more information
-Weight clinics and dietary advice
-Intra-articular (into the joint) injections
-Surgery including arthroscopy (examination of the joint using an endoscope) if required
-Referral to specialist centres if required
A weighty problem
It s no surprise that excess weight aggravates joint problems. If a joint is not working efficiently,
carrying that excess causes additional pain and damage. So it s very important that your dog
maintains his or her ideal weight. You should refrain from over-feeding young dogs and avoid
over-supplementation with calcium and protein. Feeding your dog smaller portions of less
fattening food, as well as cutting out treats , is the best way to control dietary intake and
bodyweight. Exercise is also important for dogs with osteoarthritis. As well as aiding weight
control, regular, gentle exercise helps to maintain mobility. Joints that do not have regular
movement may stiffen up and the dog will then become less active.
We run weight clinics with our nurses who are happy to offer friendly practical advice on
diets appropriate for your dog. Of particular interest is the Hills j/d diet specially formulated
to help arthritic dogs. Have a look at for more information or come and talk to us.
What about cats?
It is becoming increasingly recognised that cats too can suffer from osteoarthritis. The signs
that cats exhibit can be much the same as dogs. Therapy again centres on pain relief with
consideration given to weight control and the use of supplements as required too.