Larger and older dogs are prone to dog joint problems such as degenerative joint disease (or osteoarthritis), which is characterized by the loss of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the end of the bones in a movable joint.
This disorder restricts your dog’s everyday movement and activities. At its worst stages, degenerative joint disease results in permanent lameness and can sometimes only be helped by pain management.
You can help by keeping your dog’s weight under control. A few additional pounds can mean the difference between a little stiffness when your dog wakes up and unbearable pain throughout the day.
While it may be difficult for your dog to get up and move around, try to keep her active to keep her joints strong. If you can find a hydrotherapy pool that permits animals, then take your dog swimming for the perfect low-impact workout!
Other common joint problems in dogs include:
- Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip joint and is one of the most common medical conditions in large breeds. Symptoms can include lameness or a “duck walk.” Hip dysplasia is usually treated in the same way as degenerative joint disease. Also, several surgical options for pups with hip dysplasia have been introduced recently, including complete hip replacement.
- Osteochondrosis is a painful congenital bone defect disease where pieces of cartilage break off in a dog’s joints. This has two negative effects: the shaved-down portions of the joint can become irritated, and the flakes of cartilage can work their way into the joint fluid and interfere with the joint’s operation. Larger breeds of dog have a genetic predisposition towards the condition, which generally results from rapid growth.
- Elbow dysplasia is a generic term meaning arthritis of the elbow joint. This condition can cause lameness in young large-breed dogs. Get more information at Vet Surgery Central.