Joint pain is a common problem for dogs of all ages, reducing their quality of life and likely evolving into more serious issues and injuries. In this article, our vets in Gilbert will review the different stages and the importance of identifying the subtle symptoms before they become worse.
Joint pain can occur in any dog breed and at any age, but it's most prevalent as dogs grow older. Sometimes, owners mistake these signs for natural aging. If these issues are left untreated, they can lead to more serious conditions in the long run. Here, our Gilbert vet addresses some common types, causes, symptoms, and treatments for joint pain in dogs.
Types and Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs
There are two main types of joint issues causing pain in dogs: developmental and degenerative.
Developmental Joint Issues
These problems arise in puppies due to improperly formed joints, often due to genetics. They can lead to injuries like hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.
Many breeds of dogs are genetically prone to different joint problems that cause discomfort. At the same time, these issues are much more common in larger dogs but can be found in dogs of any size. For instance, Rottweilers are prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems, Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly develop elbow dysplasia, and Newfoundlands are one of the breeds that are most prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
If you're getting a dog from a breeder, you should consider asking them about any joint issues they may be predisposed to based on their breed and family tree. A good breeder should have already provided this information, but it never hurts to ask if you don't receive it.
Degenerative Joint Issues
These problems arise over time due to repeated joint use, resulting in cartilage wear and tendon injuries. The most common of these kinds of joint issues is cruciate ligament problems, where their tissues degenerate over time and with repeated use until more severe problems and pain develop as a result.
When it comes to degenerative joint issues, the actual root cause can widely vary from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. But often, they will develop in larger or overweight dogs, whose weight places more stress on their joints over time.
Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs
Dogs are experts at hiding injuries, so it may be difficult to tell if your dog is experiencing joint pain. They tend to be somewhat stoic, and, especially when they are young, they will continue to enthusiastically participate in activities that may be causing them pain (or leading to worsening of their condition) if they enjoy it.
That being said, here are some of the most common symptoms of joint pain that your pup may express:
- Limping and stiffness
- Frequent slipping while moving about
- Loss of Appetite
- Licking, chewing, or biting the affected area
If you see your dog showing these behaviors without an obvious reason, it might be time to take them to the Gilbert vet in order to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.
Treatments For Joint Pain In Dogs
The way your dog's joint pain is treated depends on what's causing it and how severe it is. Conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia might need surgery, while some generative issues caught early can be managed with therapies, exercise, and diet recommended by your vet.
While the specific treatment may vary, the primary goal of treating joint pain in your dog is to get them back to their regular mobility and level of activity. This is especially important because well-developed muscles around your pup's joints actually help to reduce the stress and strain they place on their joints. An active dog is a healthy one.
Most treatments also consider your dog's weight. If they're overweight, it strains their joints. Your vet might suggest a diet to help ease the burden on their painful joints.