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How To Spot The Signs of Joint Pain in Dogs

How To Spot The Signs of Joint Pain in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from joint pain, the quality of their life could be greatly impacted. Today, our Gold Canyon vets talk about the different kinds of joint pain in dogs and the treatments available.

Dogs of all ages and breeds can develop joint pain, however, it is seen more often in geriatric dogs. What many dog owners think to be is their pups "slowing down", could often be the result of joint pain instead of just old age. If joint pain goes untreated it often leads to more serious conditions or injuries in the future. In this post, our vets discuss the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments for dog joint pain.

The Types & Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

In regards to joint pain in dogs, there are two kinds of problems that could be causing your pooch's discomfort: developmental and degenerative.

Developmental Joint Problems

Developmental joint problems are present in your pup from the outset. These issues are caused by improper development of the joints while your dog is young, which is often rooted in their genetics, and may result in more serious injuries like hip or elbow dysplasia.

Lots of dog breeds, specifically giant and large breeds, are predisposed to different painful joint problems. For example, Rottweilers are prone to getting ankle and knee joint issues, Bernese Mountain Dogs often develop elbow dysplasia and Newfoundlands are one of the breeds that are most prone to having problems in their cruciate ligament.

If you are adopting your dog from a breeder, we recommend asking them if there are any predispositions the dog's breed or lineage might have to joint issues. A good breeder will provide you with that information unprompted, but it never hurts to ask if you don't receive it.

Degenerative Joint Problems

Degenerative joint issues are caused by repeated use over time of your dog's joints, including the wearing down of cartilage or the injury of tendons. Cruciate ligament problems are the most common kind of these joint issues. Pain is caused when tissues degenerate over time with repeated use until increasingly severe problems occur.

When it comes to degenerative joint issues, the actual root cause can widely vary from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. But often, they will develop in larger dogs, whose weight places more stress on their joints over time.

Watching For Signs & Symptoms of Dog Joint Pain

It can be hard to tell if your dog is suffering from joint pain. Our canine companions can be somewhat stoic, especially when they're still young, they will keep being enthusiastic when it comes to participating in activities that could be painful for them (or make their condition worse). 

By watching for the following early signs of discomfort you can help keep your dog's joint pain from getting more severe:

  • Frequent slipping while moving
  • Lethargy
  • Limping and stiffness
  • Depression
  • Licking, biting, or chewing the affected area
  • Irritability
  • Loss of Appetite

If you see your dog exhibiting any of these behaviors without an obvious reason, you might want to bring them your Gold Canyon vet, so your pooch can be assessed for joint pain and its underlying cause. 

Treating Joint Pain In Dogs

The appropriate treatment for joint pain and its underlying cause in your dog will vary based on the severity of your dog's condition and the specific root cause. Conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia will require surgical intervention to rectify, while other degenerative joint conditions may be treated with a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise if caught early.

While there are different joint pain treatments available, the main goal of treating joint pain in dogs is to get them back to their regular mobility and activity level. This is especially important because well-developed muscles around your pup's joints actually help to reduce the stress and strain they place on their joints. An active dog is a healthy one.

The majority of joint pain treatments will consist of assessing your dog's weight compared to the size. If your pooch is overweight, they are adding extra strain to their joints, and your vet might prescribe a diet to help reduce the weight their sore joints have to withstand.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our Gold Canyon vets immediately if your dog is showing signs of joint pain.

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