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Joint Pain in Dogs - Signs, Causes & Treatment

If your dog is suffering from joint pain, it can negatively impact the quality of your pup's life, and if it's not treated it can even cause a more serious injury or condition. Today, our Woburn vets discuss joint pain in dogs, including the types, causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

Joint pain affects dogs of all breeds and ages but is particularly prevalent in geriatric dogs. Many dog owners interpret their pup's decreased activity as a sign of aging, when, in fact, it's often due to joint pain. Neglecting this issue can lead to more severe conditions or injuries down the line. In this blog, our veterinary team at Woburn Animal Hospital shares the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments for canine joint pain.

The Types & Causes of Dog Joint Pain

When discussing joint pain in dogs, two types of problems could be causing your canine companion's pain: developmental and degenerative.

Developmental Joint Issues

Your dog may have developmental joint problems right from the start. These issues stem from the improper development of the joints during their youth, often influenced by genetics, and could lead to more severe injuries such as hip or elbow dysplasia.

Numerous dog breeds, especially large and giant breeds, have a predisposition to various painful joint problems. For instance, Rottweilers often develop knee and ankle joint issues, Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly experience elbow dysplasia, and Newfoundlands are among the breeds most susceptible to cruciate ligament problems.

When purchasing a dog from a breeder, inquire about any predispositions their breed or lineage might have to joint issues. While a reputable breeder should offer this information voluntarily, don't hesitate to ask if it's not provided.

Degenerative Joint Issues

Repeated use of your dog's joints over time causes degenerative joint problems, leading to the wearing down of cartilage or tendon injuries. Cruciate ligament issues represent the most common types of these joint problems.

Tissues degenerate over time with repeated use, resulting in pain until more severe problems emerge.

Degenerative joint issues can stem from various root causes, ranging from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. However, they often manifest in larger dogs, as their weight imposes more stress on their joints over time.

The Signs of Dog Joint Pain

Detecting whether your pup is experiencing joint pain can pose a challenge. Dogs often exhibit stoicism, particularly when they're young, continuing to engage enthusiastically in activities that may exacerbate their pain or worsen their condition.

To prevent your dog from experiencing escalating pain due to joint problems, vigilantly watch for the earliest indicators of discomfort, such as:

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

If your dog exhibits any of these behaviors without an obvious cause, you should call your vet to examine your pup for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treating Joint Pain In Dogs

Your vet will determine the treatments for your dog's joint pain based on the severity of the condition and its root cause. Conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia may necessitate surgical intervention, while other degenerative joint issues could be managed with a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise if detected early.

Although treatment specifics may vary, the primary aim is to restore your dog's regular mobility and activity level. This goal is crucial because well-developed muscles around the joints can effectively reduce stress and strain. An active dog is a healthy one.

Additionally, most treatments will assess your dog's weight relative to its size. If overweight, your dog is exerting extra strain on its joints, and a prescribed diet might alleviate some of the weight burden on the 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 vets in Woburn today to schedule an appointment.

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

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