Dogs moan and growl not only out of aggression, but also because they may have arthritis

As a family of our four-legged friends, it is very important to be attentive to the health of our dogs, especially when it comes to their comfort. Diseases that attack the joints are extremely troublesome, as they cause discomfort, inflammation, lameness, pain when touched, when walking or moving.

Dogs: Diet is a key factor in joint disease.

A good balanced diet, food supplements, as well as vitamins and minerals, will be essential to help treat this disease.

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis in which one or more joints experience degenerative changes, including bone sclerosis, loss of joint cartilage, and overgrowth of bone and cartilage, resulting in the formation of osteophytes, commonly called spurs.

These changes affect the structures that make up and surround the joint, such as the joint capsule, subchondral bone, ligaments, muscles and tendons. These alterations cause pain, claudication or lameness, and even prostration. If this pain becomes chronic, it alters the quality of life, generating changes in behavior and appetite. (he does not eat properly and may be reluctant to exercise, caress, even aggressive if touched where there is pain).

Sebastian Vacca / Unsplash

It is the most common joint disease and it mainly affects middle-aged and older dogs. One in 5 people will be affected by the disease; some breeds, such as the German Shepherd or the Labrador, are genetically predisposed. About 45% of large breed dogs will suffer from this disease at one time or another.

Osteoarthrosis is usually secondary to musculoskeletal disorders (the most common are hip or shoulder dysplasia and joint instability), the causative agent being the effect biomechanics on the activity, there are factors that accelerate the evolution of the process. These include overweight and age. It occurs in some young dogs after injury to the joints or ligaments.

The most commonly affected joints are the elbow, carpus (wrist), knee, spine and hip. It is usually due to a secondary cause, such as trauma, obesity or intense and excessive physical exercise.

There are serious congenital joint conditions in young dogs that can lead to secondary osteoarthritis, such as osteochondritis dissecting (OCD), elbow dysplasia (including OCD), hip dysplasia, patella luxation.

There are disorders acquired throughout the life of our dog, which can affect the integrity of articular cartilage such as joint fractures and dislocations, torn ligaments, the most common being the cranial cruciate ligament.

Symptoms of Canine Osteoarthritis

The symptoms are diverse and can be manifested by some or by others, depending on the degree of the disease, which can range from mild to severe, showing certain symptoms and signs such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Rigidity
  • Growls and moans
  • The dog avoids moving
  • Aggressiveness if you want to touch the affected area.
  • Lameness or claudication
  • Lameness after exertion
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Difficulty moving
  • Loss of appetite

It is recommended that you consult your veterinarian if you notice any of the symptoms or signs described above or if your dog is overweight, medium to large breed and over 5 years old. In general, diagnosis is made by physical examination and x-rays.

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In terms of treatment, the therapeutic goals are very specific: to relieve discomfort and slow down degeneration. Medical treatment is generally symptomatic: anti-inflammatory treatment (NSAIDs), chondroprotective drugs (chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine) and analgesics.

The most important part of the treatment is the management healthy lifestyle multimodal, and achieving a combination of weight loss, pain reduction and rest. Physiotherapy is also a fundamental element: moderate and low impact exercises, passive movement exercises, cold/heat treatment, muscle and joint massage, ultrasound.

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