Arthritis is a degenerative condition and, in dogs is normally age related, but not always. There are some other conditions that can cause arthritis, such as hip dysplasia, joint trauma and other joint conditions and these are not particularly limited to older dogs.
Larger and heavier dogs are affected far more than smaller lighter breeds; the heavier a dog is the more weight there is placing strain on joints and ligaments. Symptoms of degenerative arthritis include stiffness, particularly when getting up, sleeping more, struggling to stand and walk, lameness, joint pain, irritability and behavioural changes.
Diagnosis is normally by way of x-rays. Once the diagnosis has been made your vet will prescribe s course of treatment. Arthritis is not curable but prescription of some medications can dramatically improve your dog's quality of life and reduce his pain and suffering. Your vet may be able to prescribe a medication that will help the joints to repair themselves as well, preventing further damage.
It is worth noting that, whilst the medications that your vet prescribes will most certainly help him some of them are likely to cause unwanted side effects that can make your dog feel much worse and may cause other complications. Many people and vets are now looking at other ways in which to treat a dog with arthritis using more natural methods although the use of some medication will be essential.
There are other things that you can do to help your dog with his arthritis. You can put a small amount of vitamin C into his food daily, starting small and very gradually building up the amount over the course of a year. You should also give your dog certain fish oil supplements as well to help his joints to stay supple.
You can also change your dog's diet from shop bought to home cooked to ensure your dog is getting a high quality, chemical free diet. Avoid the use of tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers though as these can make your dog's arthritis much worse. However, be careful not to allow your dog to put on weight as this will deteriorate his condition quicker.
Gentle exercise is excellent therapy for arthritic dogs as it helps to keep the joints moving and helps to maintain the joints and cartilage. Be careful not to overdo it though as too much is as bad as too little.
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Ensuring that your dog is regularly exercised, eats a good healthy diet and maintains a balanced weight you can minimise the chances of your dog getting arthritis. One way to keep your dog's joints supple and mobile is to use fish oil supplements. Omega 3 6 and 9 fish oils are excellent for this and given daily will certainly benefit your dog greatly.
You can purchase combination packs of products that contain these oils and one that contains the enzymes that your dog's body naturally produces. Combined and given as directed there is no reason why, although he will never be cured of arthritis, your dog can live a pain free quality life.
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