Your pet can benefit greatly from regular wellness examinations or checkups. Whether your pet is a youngster, a “senior citizen,” or any age in between, wellness examinations provide an excellent opportunity for us to conduct a thorough physical examination and develop a health plan for your pet. This information will help us identify medical problems and any other issues that can affect your pet’s health and quality of life, including pain they may be suffering from.
Is your dog not acting like himself lately? Maybe he seems more lethargic and doesn’t want to be as active as he once did? He could be suffering from osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.
Medway Animal Hospital maintains a large inventory of veterinary pharmaceutical products and medications. You can rely on us to get the proper medication to help your companion who may be in pain.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a form of chronic joint inflammation caused by the deterioration of joint cartilage. When the cartilage between the bones wears away, the end of one bone touches the end of the other bone in the joint during movement. Because bones have nerves, when the two bones touch, the dog will feel pain.
Signs of Osteoarthritis
Symptoms of the disease can vary and are dependent on the age of the dog, the severity of the disease, and the joints affected. Some common signs include:
- An altered gait—because the dog will favor unaffected limbs, putting more weight on them, his walk might be noticeably different
- Difficulty getting up after lying down and a general “stiffness”
- Difficulty going up and down stairs or jumping onto furniture or into cars
- Changes in appetite—dogs in more pain might not want to eat as much as they once did
- Changes in behavior—dogs in pain might also seem to be depressed and might sleep more than they once did
- Licking or biting around the painful area
To diagnose osteoarthritis, we will talk with you about your dog’s history and the signs of disease you’re noticing. We’ll perform a physical exam, take X-rays, and run laboratory tests.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that will worsen with time, but it can be treated and managed to allow for a good quality of life. Just like the signs of osteoarthritis in dogs will vary based on age, the severity of the disease, and the joints affected, so too will the treatment options. If your dog is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, we might recommend:
- Weight management
- A safe, appropriate, and regular exercise regimen
- Physical therapy and/or massage
- Medications and/or supplements
- Altering household items, like elevating food and water bowls, building ramps so dogs can avoid stairs, etc.
- Surgery (for some severe cases of chronic osteoarthritis, especially in younger dogs)
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms or you have questions, please contact our office!