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Joint Pain in Dogs

Our Fremont vets often see dogs in their office due to symptoms of joint pain. Although a common reason for joint pain is aging, there are effective treatments available to relieve discomfort in dogs of any age or activity level.

Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Joint pain can develop in dogs of all breeds and ages, but is seen much more often in senior and large breed dogs.

Many dog owners interpret their aging animal friend "slowing down" due to old age, but joint pain could actually be a symptom rather than just the aging process. If you don't address this condition, it can often lead to more serious injuries or conditions down the road. Our vets will provide information on the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments for joint pain in dogs.

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

Developmental Joint Conditions

Veterinarians term the improper development of the joints during puppyhood as 'developmental' joint conditions. The dog's genetics often cause this medical condition, which may result in more serious injuries like hip or elbow dysplasia. Your pup has these issues from the outset.

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

  • Rottweilers: prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs: commonly develop elbow dysplasia
  • Newfoundlands: prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
If you are getting a dog from a breeder, you should ask them about any predispositions their breed or lineage might have to joint issues. A good breeder will provide you with that information unprompted, but it never hurts to ask!

Degenerative Joint Conditions

Repeated use of your dog's joints over time leads to degeneration, just like it happens in humans. Conditions like the wearing down of cartilage or the injury of tendons include these types. These kinds of joint issues commonly cause cruciate ligament problems, and tissues degenerate over time, causing pain. Your beloved pet can experience increasingly severe issues and extreme discomfort as a result of this.

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

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

It can be hard to tell if your dog is experiencing joint pain because most dogs absolutely love to be active and have fun. Young and middle-aged dogs who experience the early stages of joint pain often continue to enthusiastically participate in activities that may cause pain or worsen 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 at the painful 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 Your Dog

The severity of your dog's condition and the specific root cause will determine the best treatment for joint pain. Surgical intervention will be required to rectify conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia, while a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise may treat other degenerative joint conditions if caught early.

Your dog's wellness exam will also involve an assessment of your dog's weight for their breed and size. If they are overweight, they are placing extra strain on their joints and a diet may be prescribed to help ease the pressure on their joints.

Treatment for joint pain is all about helping your dog return to their regular mobility and activities, pain-free. This is especially important because well-developed muscles around your dog's joints actually 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 for informational purposes and is not to be considered 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 Fremont vets today to book an examination. Our vets can help your dog to move more comfortably again.

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

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