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Joint Pain in Dogs - Signs, Causes & Treatment

Joint Pain in Dogs - Signs, Causes & Treatment

Joint pain is a common condition affecting dogs of all ages, affecting their quality of life and potentially leading to quite serious conditions and injuries if left unchecked. This pain may be hard to notice unless you know what to look for. Our Jackson vets explain joint pain in dogs, including its varieties, causes and treatment options. 

Joint pain can be quite common in dogs of any breed or age but is much more likely to develop in dogs as they grow into their senior years. While dog owners may interpret this as "slowing down," this process can much more often be caused by pain in your pup's joints than old age on its own. 

If this condition isn't properly addressed, it can also often lead to more serious injuries and conditions too. Here, our vets explain the possible causes, symptoms and treatment options for your dog's joint pain.

Types and Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

There are two possible varieties of joint issues that can be causing your dog pain: degenerative and developmental joint pain. 

Developmental Joint Issues

Your dog may have developmental joint issues that originate from their early stages of life. These issues are often caused by genetic factors, resulting in improper joint development during their puppyhood. Serious conditions like elbow or hip dysplasia can develop as a consequence of these underlying problems.

It's important to note that certain dog breeds are more prone to experiencing joint issues, leading to pain and discomfort. While larger dogs tend to be more commonly affected, joint issues can occur in dogs of any size. For instance, Rottweilers are susceptible to knee and ankle joint problems, Bernese Mountain Dogs often develop elbow dysplasia, and Newfoundlands have a higher risk of experiencing cruciate ligament issues.

If you are considering getting a dog from a breeder, it is advisable to inquire about any genetic predispositions their breed or lineage may have towards joint issues. Responsible breeders should willingly provide you with this information, but it never hurts to ask and ensure you are well-informed before making a decision.

Degenerative Joint Issues

Degenerative joint issues are caused by repeated use over time of your dog's joints, including the wearing down of cartilage or the injury of tendons. 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 root cause will vary wildly. They can range from stress fractures to injuries and osteoarthritis. But often, they will develop in larger dogs since their weight places more stress on your pup's joints over time.

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

It can be hard to tell whether or not your dog is suffering from joint pain. Our canine companions will tend to be somewhat stoic and, when they are young, they will also often continue to enthusiastically play. worsening their condition.

That being said, here are some of the most common symptoms of joint pain that your pup may express:

  • Lethargy
  • Limping and stiffness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Frequent slipping while moving about
  • Licking, chewing or biting the affected area

If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it might be time to bring them into your Jackson vet in order to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treatments For Joint Pain In Dogs 

The appropriate treatment for joint pain in dogs depends on the severity of the condition and its underlying cause. In cases such as hip or elbow dysplasia, surgical intervention may be necessary. However, for certain degenerative joint conditions, early detection allows for a treatment approach that combines nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise as recommended by your veterinarian.

While the specific treatment plan may vary, the ultimate goal is to restore your dog to their normal level of activity and mobility. This is crucial for their long-term well-being, as strong muscles surrounding the joints can help alleviate the burden on those joints. Remember, an active dog tends to be a healthy dog.

Weight management is often an integral part of joint pain treatment. If your dog is overweight, the additional weight puts extra strain on their joints. Your veterinarian may prescribe a suitable diet to help reduce the load on their painful joints, promoting a healthier weight for improved joint health.

To learn more about how we can assess, diagnose and treat your pup, contact Northside Animal Clinic today. 

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Northside Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Jackson companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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