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Joint Pain in Dogs

Dogs of all ages can be afflicted by joint pain that impacts their quality of life, and potentially lead to serious conditions and injuries. Today, our Villa Rica vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of joint pain in dogs.

Joint pain is a common issue for dogs of all ages and breeds, but it tends to become more prevalent as they age. Many pet parents observe their dog becoming less active, but may not realize that joint pain is often the underlying cause rather than simply old age. 

Failure to address the underlying condition causing the pain may result in the development of more severe conditions or injuries down the line. Our vets are here to discuss the various aspects of joint pain in dogs, including its types, causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Types & Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Two types of joint issues may be causing pain for your dog: developmental and degenerative. 

Developmental Joint Issues

If your dog's joints develop improperly while they are a puppy, developmental joint problems can persist, cause painful symptoms and affect their quality of life. 

These issues are often caused by genetics and may result in more serious injuries such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia.  

Some dog breeds have a higher likelihood of experiencing joint issues, which can be quite painful. Developmental joint issues can affect dogs of any size, although they are more common in larger breeds. 

Elbow dysplasia is a common issue among Bernese Mountain Dogs, whereas Newfoundlands are known to be prone to developing problems in the cruciate ligament. Rottweilers may develop joint problems in their ankles and knees. 

When purchasing a dog from a breeder, it is advisable to inquire about any potential joint issues that may be present in their lineage or breed, according to our veterinarians at Villa Rica. A responsible breeder will readily provide you with that information without needing to be asked. However, it's always worth asking if you don't receive it. 

Degenerative Joint Issues 

Repeated use of a joint over time causes these problems. A dog's joint may experience cartilage wear or tendon injury. Degenerative joint issues often include problems with the cruciate ligament. Repeated use can lead to tissue degeneration over time, causing more severe problems and pain. 

Degenerative joint issues can have various root causes, including injuries, stress fractures, or osteoarthritis. These are often developed by larger dogs due to the increased stress on their joints caused by their weight over time. 

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

Determining if your dog is experiencing joint pain can be challenging. They often display a stoic nature and, particularly when they are young, they persistently engage in activities that may cause them discomfort (or exacerbate their condition) if they find them enjoyable.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of joint pain that your dog may experience:

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

If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it might be time to bring them to your Villa Rica vet to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treatment for Joint Pain in Dogs 

The appropriate treatment for joint pain and its underlying cause in your dog will vary based on its severity and the specific root cause.

Conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia will require surgical intervention to rectify, while some degenerative joint conditions if caught early, can be treated by a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation and exercise prescribed by your vet.

The main focus when treating joint pain in your dog is to restore their normal mobility and activity level, although the specific treatment may differ. It's crucial to note that strong muscles surrounding your pup's joints play a key role in minimizing the pressure and tension exerted on their joints. A dog that is active tends to be healthier.

Assessing your dog's weight in relation to their size is an important aspect of most treatments. Being overweight puts extra strain on the joints, so a diet might be recommended to alleviate the burden on their pained joints.

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.

Is your dog showing signs of joint pain? Contact our Villa Rica vets to book an appointment for your pup.

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Villa Rica Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Villa Rica companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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