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Arthritis Treatment for Dogs

The term arthritis comes from the greek arthro – meaning joint and -itis – meaning inflammation. Although the end result of the condition is pain from the joint and often associated muscles/soft tissues, the original cause of the problem can be varied.

What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?


The main problem with arthritis is pain from the joint. It often shows up as stiffness in the joint, especially when the joint has been rested for a period of time. Acute cases may present as an animal that will not walk on a limb may hold it up or may be lame when walking. Chronic cases may present as an animal that is increasingly reluctant to exercise over a period of time. Remember it may be that more than one leg is affected and so the animal may not be able to hold up the bad leg on its own. Any stiffness or lameness is a sign of pain.

What causes arthritis in dogs?


The most common reason that our pets develop arthritis is due to old age or trauma to the joint. Obesity is also very hard on an animal’s joints. The primary cause may be obvious, e.g. an accident causing a torn cruciate ligament or may be more subtle with no obvious factor that triggered the problem.

What are some treatment options for arthritis in dogs?


The current best way to manage your arthritic dog is to create an individual plan that is suitable for your pet. It includes looking at diet, weight control, exercise management, anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy (including acupuncture and laser treatment), nutraceuticals, essential fatty acid supplements, disease-modifying drugs, and other treatments.

Can I give my dog Aspirin?


Many medications are available for helping with arthritic pain in humans. Although they may be safe in people often these drugs can cause problems for your dog. Drugs such as Tylenol, Bufferin, Children’s Advil etc. are NOT designed for use in our canine patients. These drugs can cause serious side effects such as stomach ulcers and gastric bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and other issues such as bleeding disorders etc. Dose rates of medications may vary from the human doses rate. Also, our patients are much smaller than people. We can advise on medication that is much more suitable for long term pain management due to their reduced side effects.

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