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Joint Pain in Dogs

Joint pain symptoms are a common reason why many dogs are brought to be examined by our Knightdale vets. While joint pain can often be an age-related condition there are effective treatments available to relieve joint pain in dogs of any age or activity level.

Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Joint pain can be seen in dogs of all breeds and ages but is much more common in senior large-breed dogs.

What many dog owners interpret as their dog "slowing down" as a result of old age is often a symptom of joint pain rather than the aging process. And, if not treated, this condition can often lead to more serious injuries or conditions in the future. Our veterinarians explain the different types of joint pain in dogs, as well as the causes, symptoms, and treatments.

There are two types of conditions that can cause your dog to experience joint pain: developmental and degenerative.

Developmental Joint Conditions

Developmental joint problems are caused by improper development of the joints while your dog is young, which is often rooted in their genetics, and may result in more serious injuries like hip or elbow dysplasia. These issues are present in your pup from the outset. 

Many dog breeds, particularly large and giant dogs, are predisposed to painful joint issues such as:

  • Rottweilers are prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly develop elbow dysplasia
  • Newfoundlands are one of the breeds that are most prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
If you are buying a dog from a breeder, you should inquire about any predispositions their breed or lineage may have to joint problems. A good breeder will give you that information without prompting, but it never hurts to ask if you don't.

Degenerative Joint Conditions

Over time, repeated use causes degenerative joint issues. These conditions include cartilage wear and tear as well as a tendon injury. Cruciate ligament problems are the most common type of joint problem. Pain occurs when tissues degenerate over time as a result of repeated use, resulting in increasingly severe problems.

The actual root cause of degenerative joint issues can vary widely from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. But often, they will develop in larger dogs, whose weight places more stress on their joints over time.

Symptoms of Joint Pain To Be On The Lookout For

Dogs enjoy being active and having fun, which can make determining whether or not your dog is experiencing joint pain difficult. Young and middle-aged dogs in the early stages of joint pain will frequently continue to engage in activities that are causing them pain (or leading to the worsening of their condition).

To help your dog avoid increasingly severe pain due to joint issues watch for the earliest signs of joint discomfort, such as:

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

If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it's a good idea to book an appointment with your vet, to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treatments For Joint Pain In Dogs 

The severity of your dog's condition and the specific root cause will determine how you treat joint pain. Conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia will require surgical intervention to correct, whereas other degenerative joint conditions if detected early, can be treated with a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise.

Your dog's examination will also involve an assessment of your pup's weight compared to its size. If they are overweight, they are placing extra strain on their joints and a diet may be prescribed to help ease the weight their pained joints have to bear.

Treatment for joint pain is all about returning your pooch to pain-free regular mobility and activities. This is especially important because well-developed muscles around your dog's joints help to reduce the stress and strain they place on their joints. An active dog is a healthy dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing signs of joint pain contact our Knightdale vets today to book an examination for your pooch. Our vets can help your dog to move more comfortably again.

New Patients Are Welcome

Smithfield Road Veterinary Hospital, PLLC is currently accepting new patients! Our experienced and kind vets are passionate about the health of Knightdale pets. Contact us today to book your furry friend's first appointment.

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