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Symptoms and Treatments for Arthritis in Dogs

Dog arthritis is a common condition most commonly seen in older, overweight and inactive animals, but younger animals can also develop this condition. Some cases are hereditary and occur in animals with hip displacements. There is no cure for degenerative joint disease but there are options available to veterinarians for treatment that will improve the quality of life.

Osteoarthritis is a disease that attacks the joints and is mainly caused by wear and tear. The cartilage that binds the joints is weakened and the bones begin to grind against each other. When the bone becomes deformed, it hurts more to move. The joints become inflamed and the animal will struggle to stand or lie down and show signs of restricted movement. Traumatic injuries to the joints can cause the same symptoms and it is possible that they may cause osteoarthritis in the road.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that occurs when the immune system is compromised. The joints will become swollen and painful. Hardness and pain lead to loss of function.

Symptoms of joint disease are usually clear after the animal wakes up. Cold weather and humid conditions will increase cramps and pain. The progressive nature of the disease makes it difficult for animals to roam comfortably.

X-ray joints will expose bone flaps that develop in the attachment between bones, ligaments and joints. The space between the bones and the joints narrows as the bone density increases.

Early intervention has proven effective in treating symptoms. Dogs tend to develop this condition and one way to avoid it is to feed the animals as a balanced diet. Overweight animals will experience more pain in the joints. Good joint care will reduce the impact of this condition. Regular exercise is also important for joint health.

This condition is often treated with glucosamine and chondritin. These ingredients work to develop a healthy cartilage and not just cover the symptoms. Animals exposed to the condition can be treated ahead of time to reduce functional loss.

Glucosamine is extracted from shellfish exoskeleton including shrimp, coral shrimp and crabs. It acts to stimulate the cartilage cells to produce collagen, a substance that acts to strengthen all joints. It is also used to make hyaluronic acid, a substance found in synovial fluid.

Chondroitin is a substance that works in conjunction with glucosamine to produce a greater effect than the substance alone. It prevents the production of enzymes that destroy joints. These agents work together to repair the cartilage and prevent additional damage.

Corticosteroids and analgesics can be prescribed to manage pain and facilitate normal functioning of animals.

Regardless of the cause, veterinarians have the tools needed to help relieve the symptoms of dog arthritis. Methods of treatment are designed to help animals get easier and improve their quality of life. Diet and exercise, combined with medication, will eliminate or alleviate most of the symptoms and allow pets to live longer and happier lives.



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