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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dog Arthritis | How To Care For Your Dog

There are two types of dog arthritis, degenerative and inflammatory. Inflammatory joint disease can be either caused by an infection or can appear due to immune related diseases. It's a systemic illness that is usually accompanied by fever, lack of appetite, and rigid extremities. In situations such as the one I just described, head over to your dog vet for immediate treatment.

Degenerative joint disease, arthritis caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage that protects the joints, is subdivided into primary and secondary disease. In the case of primary joint disease there is no specific cause evident. It is usually a natural result of aging and you'll see plenty of evidence of that in your senior dog. Secondary degenerative joint disease can be pinpointed and it can sometimes be treated through surgical repair. The causes for this type of arthritis are hip dysplasia, trauma, ruptured ligaments, patella luxation, etc.

General signs of dog arthritis:
Difficulty and reluctance to walk, run, jump, sometimes accompanied by whining
Overall slowing down and lagging behind
Difficulty getting up
Flinching or resisting touch from your afflicted dog
Random yelping during movement
Refusal to climb in a car

There are many drugs available for the containment and or treatment of arthritis, that's why your dog should be under veterinary care. The number one drug of choice in such instances, provided it's not long term and your dog does not have other health issues, is Rimadyl. You need a prescription for this one. I always prefer the more natural route, so I use dog supplements. The one that seems to be working so far is K-9 Liquid Health. It was recommended by a friend with a senior dog and it helped our senior dog tremendously. From limping she got to jumping the fence again. And from what we know so far, there's no harm giving your dog glucosamine.

Other measures you can take to help relieve dog arthritis include:
1. The maintenance of the proper body weight. This is the easiest thing you can do for your dog. An overweight dog will put undue stress on her joints and will suffer more. You can switch to a lower calorie kibble, or cut back on the regular portions adding some veggies or canned pumpkin to help your dog feel more full.
2. Along with the regular dog supplements of your choice, consider offering quality senior dog food and dog treats enhanced with glucosamine.
3. Make sure your dog gets just the right amount of exercise. Enough to stay fit and not too much as to strain the already inflamed joints.
4. There is a variety of products available to make every day life easier on an arthritic dog. For small dogs you can find dog steps and for larger you can find a huge variety of dog ramps to help with getting in and out of the car. For our 60lbs dog we've purchased the Solvit Telescoping Pet Ramp, that sells for about $90.00 which we've had for a couple of years now. It's sturdier than the folding type, making it easy for the dog to adjust, and it is really durable. A cheaper alternative would be the Pet Gear Bi-Fold Ramp which can hold dogs up to 250lbs. This one costs close to $60.

If you have a senior dog, chances are that she is afflicted by arthritis to a certain degree. I would recommend taking all of the above measures.

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