August 15, 2012

How to Treat Dog Arthritis

Filed under: Dog Arthritis — Tags: — 1st Pet Naturals @ 2:15 pm

arthritis in dogsOne in five dogs will experience canine arthritis, a disease which weakens the joints and affects physical mobility. Pet owners who suspect that their dogs are suffering from arthritis should, with the help of their veterinarian, research the different types of arthritis treatment for dogs.  Diagnosing and treating dog arthritis as soon as possible can help alleviate some of your pet’s suffering and reduce the amount of stress they are likely to suffer from the degenerative disease.

Preventative Treatments for Arthritis

Like the old saying goes, prevention is the best medicine. Preventing arthritis in dogs can be challenging, and may not always be effective. Larger dogs for example are more prone to arthritis than smaller dogs; the disease can affect young and old dogs alike, but older dogs are more likely to experience it; and if your dog has suffered an injury on, or near, the joints, their chances of arthritis increase. However, you may be able to reduce the odds in variables such as diet and inactivity. Like humans, dogs that are obese are more likely to develop dog joint pain than their slimmer counterparts.  Excess weight puts strain on joints and can lead to deterioration and inflammation. A healthy diet and regular exercise will keep your dog’s weight down and help them stay in good physical shape.

Treating Arthritis via Medication

Medication can be used to treat pain and stop weakening and inflammation of the joints. In addition, because of decreased pain many dogs, with the help of over-the-counter or prescription drugs, can remain far more active than they would without. While canine arthritis treatments can have a positive impact on a dog’s health, there are usually side effects when using drug therapy so pet owners should always research a drug and talk with their veterinarian before administering it.

It’s also important to note that you should refrain from giving your dog human medication unless prescribed by your vet. It can be hard to translate human doses to a dog, and medicines designed for humans can have harmful and even lethal effects on animals.

Treating Arthritis Via Corrective Surgery

While surgery is a viable canine arthritis treatment it should always be the last option to consider. Surgery can be expensive and may not be suitable for very old dogs, but on the other hand younger dogs that are otherwise healthy should fare well when treating arthritis with surgery. It’s important to discuss with your veterinarian whether your dog is a good candidate or not.

If you decide to proceed with surgery as treatment be prepared for a more invasive treatment than you might originally think. For example, it is sometimes necessary with hip dysplasia to replace the entire hip bone.

If your dog is suffering from arthritis you will want to find the right canine arthritis treatment for you and your pet. The effectiveness of any treatment will vary in terms of budget, stage of disease, and age and general well being of your dog. Talking with your veterinarian is the first step in finding the best dog arthritis remedies and keeping your canine in the best possible health.

April 13, 2012

Six Common Causes Of Dog Arthritis

Filed under: Dog Arthritis — Tags: — 1st Pet Naturals @ 6:48 pm

old sick dogArthritis is not just a human affliction, and dog owners are often surprised when their vet diagnoses their pet with canine rheumatoid arthritis. Early warning signs such as slowing down, being unable to stand in one spot for long periods of time, and joint stiffness can often go unnoticed until it becomes severe. Once a dog is diagnosed many pet owners begin to wonder how their dog came down with the disease. While not every cause will apply to every dog, there are some common causes of dog arthritis that will be relevant to the majority of them, and knowing the cause will help determine if there are any canine arthritis remedies suitable to try.

Age

Older dogs are more prone to getting canine rheumatoid arthritis. As dogs age the normal wear and tear on their joints can cause cartilage to deteriorate. In addition, older dogs tend to be less active which can contribute to stiffness along with less lubricated joints. However, not all dogs that are diagnosed with arthritis are old. Sometimes younger dogs, which have some of the other traits present, can also be afflicted.

Weight

Obesity in dogs is one of the chief causes of canine rheumatoid arthritis, along with other diseases and health problems. Overweight dogs place additional strain on their bones and joints that is not present in a dog of average weight. Think of a small wooden table with a few books placed on top. The strain on the table is not so great but if you were to add a few more books, heavy weights, iron chairs, and even your dog on top, the legs of the table will soon become weakened. Each additional pound that is added places greater stress, and at some point the legs of the table will give out. The same is true of your dog.

Poor Nutrition

For bones and joints to develop properly, a dog needs to receive the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals. A dog whose diet lacks in these can develop arthritis later in life. In addition, if poor nutrition leads to weight gain and obesity they are of course at a risk to develop arthritis.

Breed/Genetics

Certain dog breeds are more likely to develop arthritis. According to the ASPCA, rheumatoid arthritis in dogs is more prevalent in larger dogs like Great Danes and Bull Mastiffs, but other breeds like dachshunds are also at risk due to breeding patterns.  It’s also important to note that some breeders are not educated in dog breeding and these dogs can especially be prone to diseases such as arthritis.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic trait, but is listed here separately because pet owners often hear hip dysplasia and canine rheumatoid arthritis mentioned together. Hip dysplasia is not arthritis but it can lead to arthritis in dogs. According to PetMD, hip dysplasia is caused when the hip joints do not develop abnormally and do not fit together with the bones as they are meant to. If hip dysplasia is severe, there can be a lot of pain and arthritis is likely to occur. Some of the same breeds that are prone to arthritis are also prone to hip dysplasia, and many times it is the cause of arthritis in these breeds.

Previous Injuries

If a previous injury has happened on or near the joints, the chances of a dog developing dog joint pain is greater. Injuries can cause a weakening of the joints, and any time stress is placed on this area, over time arthritis can take hold.

Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.