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What Exactly is Canine Arthritis

August 22nd, 2014

What is canine arthritis

Photo by North Yorkshire Police

Arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects one or multiple joints in a dog. Most cases occur in dogs with an inherited orthopedic disease such as osteochondrosis or hip dysplasia, or those with a joint injury. It is characterized by the deterioration of connective tissue in its joints. Often these are specific to a particular breed of dog which is more susceptible to these issues for a variety of reasons. Some cases of arthritis are related to an immune-mediated joint disease or a joint infection. While larger breeds are more vulnerable, arthritis can occur in dogs of any size, and 20% of dogs experience it.

The main culprit behind canine arthritis is simply age and it is often unavoidable. There are layers of lubricated tissue in joints between bones that keep them from rubbing against one another. Over time, this tissue and the ligaments begin to stretch, allowing the bones that form the joint to oscillate slightly as they move. This in turn bruises and breaks down the joint’s surfaces causing inflammation. And as these surfaces continue to move, the inflammation causes new bone to be created where it should not be, causing pain.

Dogs with degenerative arthritis many different kinds of pain, stiffness, and joint immobility. These often appear more readily noticeable immediately after the dog has woken up. Additionally afflicted dogs often show signs of behavior changes and bad tempers associated with the pain they are experiencing. Cold and moist environments can aggravate the symptoms in dogs suffering from arthritis.

X rays are the most effective means of diagnosing canine arthritis. These will often show bone spurs and/or narrowing of the spaces in between joints.

Unfortunately, once it has begun, there is no known cure for this affliction in dogs. However, once it is diagnosed, various treatments can substantially improve the canine’s overall quality of life. Treatment involves physical therapy and weight control, the use of topical analgesics and corticosteroids to provide relief for the pain. Acupuncture is another therapy that has shown noticeably positive results for arthritic dogs in some cases. Additionally, the use of chondroprotective agents to repair joint cartilage and prevent further damage has shown to be effective. If possible, multiple or all of these methods should be used in unison.

Arthritic dogs should definitely be trained to avoid jumping repeatedly or to do any sort of activity that involves standing on their hind legs (like begging) as these activities create extra stress on the joints. Dogs with pain and lameness should be exercised on a leash or a harness. The purpose of the harness is to prevent aggressive movements and to make sure that the pressure from the leash is more evenly distributed. Another extremely advisable plan of action is to make sure that an overweight or obese dog loses weight. The additional weight causes undue stress on the joints which can aggravate the symptoms of arthritis.

It is advisable to consult a veterinary professional. Often they can advice the best treatment plan and often can advise an exercise regiment that is beneficial to the dog. In very rare cases, the veterinarian may even advise a type of surgery that can have success in alleviating pain in the dog. Regardless, it is advisable to consult a vet before embarking on any plan of action.

Photo credit: North Yorkshire Police.

Top 5 Health Issues With Dogs

July 14th, 2014

Dog wallpaper

When caring for a canine companion, it is important to remember that their body and health needs are extremely different from our own. However, in modern times they have begun living with us in our homes and living a very human lifestyle which can be harmful to a dog’s health. Therefore, staying well-aware of their needs and being educated about what sorts of health problems they may face is very vital to ensuring the longevity of a dog. The following are some common health problems that dog owners typically encounter in their pets.

1. Ear infections

Ear infections: Dogs are very susceptible to these as their ears are very easy targets for many types of parasites and conditions that cause them. Your dog may have an ear infection if it displays any of the following symptoms: excessive head shaking, scratching, poor balance, redness around its ears (particularly inside the ear), swelling of the ears, and any sort of unusual discharge. If any of these symptoms are present, a trip to the vet is necessary.

2. Parasites

Parasites: Worms (including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, etc.) are very common in dogs. The affect the digestive tract and therefore create the following symptoms: diarrhea, loss of weight, different appetite (more or less appetite), and scooting around. These absolutely necessitate seeing a veterinarian. Another common parasite is fleas. This may be more obvious as you, yourself will be affected by them. Symptoms in the dog may include scratching, biting, licking, and dirt from the fleas. While home remedies may exist for fleas, often it is very necessary to seek a professional.

3. Skin infections

Skin infection: Often referred to as “hot spots,” these are hairless, inflamed, often red or swollen spots on a canine. They are typically caused by a bacterial skin infection. However, fleas can also be the culprit. Treatment may include shaving the area or applying a topical medication, as prescribed by the vet.

4. Chronic vomiting or diarrhea

Chronic vomiting and or diarrhea: These are obviously much easier to spot but contain a very wide array of causes. Causes for either of these digestive problems could be from any or more of the following: parasites, infection, pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, poisoning, virus, or issues with the dog’s diet. In addition to some of the more obvious risks, it is also important to remember that they can lead to dehydration so hydration is key. As with any of these, persistent symptoms are best treated by a veterinarian.

5. Obesity

Obesity: This can be a huge problem with many dogs, however it is extremely preventable. It is important to remember that a dog does not function like a human being. Therefore it should not be eating calorie dense food or living too sedentary of a lifestyle (dogs lived in the wild prior to domestication, where neither of these issues were typically present). Proper diet combined with sufficient exercise is effective in treating obesity in most dogs. Should results seem unsatisfactory and the dog is still unhealthy, it may be necessary to consult a veterinarian who can engineer a more specialized plan for the individual dog.

Canine Arthritis – Natural Treatments and Remedies

November 13th, 2011

Owning a dog can often require much more than simply feeding and playing with one. There are numerous conditions your beloved pets can have, and canine arthritis is not an exception. This condition can severely impact the health of your dog so making sure you can identify the symptoms in time is crucial.

Just as important of course if treating your dog’s arthritis. There are several different treatment options available to dog owners, as well as plenty of natural remedies and other medication. Personally I always prefer natural treatments, be it for my own conditions of my pet’s, so this site will focus mostly on providing you information on homemade treatments that won’t have any side effects. These homemade remedies are usually easy to make and have been known to work just as well as any pharmaceutical medicines.

Be sure to browse around this site and take a look at some of the most effective canine arthritis treatments and help your dog get better.