As a skilled dog parent, you love your senior dog but remember how excited you were when you got your first puppy? How you couldn’t wait to introduce it to your friends and pamper it with hugs and kisses? And so time flew; your family dog’s older now, but he/she needs the same level, if not more, love and care from your end. It goes unsaid that having a senior dog in your household is about being aware of and identifying health issues your do must be having, particularly the joint problems.
Understanding Joint Problems (Osteoarthritis) in Senior Dogs
Besides age, breed (Rottweiler’s greater tendency for ankle and knee problems; Newfoundland’s prone to cruciate ligament disease; Bernese Mountain dog’s known to get elbow dysplasia) and (greater) size and weight should alert you.
The two kind of joint problems dogs are prone to, are degenerative problems and developmental problems. The former, implying conditions that tend to worsen slowly and steadily, is a broad category and includes a number of health concerns. Prominent among them are cruciate ligament problems that also lead to arthritis. Alternatively, the latter category is one where you’ll deal with issues such as elbow or hip dysplasia wherein the joint that didn’t formed properly led to severe damage.
Now, it’s natural if your dog’s showing less energy when growing older; they’ll take more naps and they’ll tire easily. But if the dog’s appears to have problem getting up, is stiff and limping after exercise, or moving around and/or getting in and out of car, then it’s likely to be suffering from acute arthritis.
It’s not only the legs that’ll be influenced by arthritis; the dog’s spine will be affected too and it’ll suffer from abnormal posture, soreness in neck, and lameness in hind legs. If your dog’s legs look thinner or weaker than a normal leg’s supposed to be, then the arthritis may have caused it to have muscle atrophy.
The problem might be primary, as in the general wear and tear could’ve caused it to happen, or it might be secondary, that is the joint was damaged or injured somehow and thus caused this painful inflammation.
This problem shares a number of its initial symptoms with those of arthritis. You’re likely to discover them only after they’ve stepped up into a more advanced stage. So, if you are worried that your dog not responding well to the arthritis treatment following an unexpected bone fracture, you should ask for an X-ray to see if there really is nothing else wrong with him.
Back problems as a result of a form of arthritis (spondylosis), disc prolapsed, or pressure on the spinal nerve, can also be a reason why your dog is stumbling, knuckling the foot, or crossing its hind legs so often.
Did you know that inflammatory joint disorder can make your older dog liable to injures, that he may rupturing the ligament – and consequently developing secondary arthritis – because they had joint problems in the first place? Take action now to protect the joints of your older dog.
Is your dog healthy or has it been showing any of these symptoms? How did you get it assessed and treated? Tell us in the comments below!