Arthritis is one of the oldest and most common diseases on earth. Archaeologists have proven that even the dinosaurs had it. The word is Latin in origin and means "inflammation of a joint." It sounds simple, we know. But there is nothing simple about arthritis. ?At last count, there were over one hundred different types of the disease. In this article, we will discuss arthritis in canines and how to treat it.
The Humane Society of the United States informs us that there are approximately 77.5 million owned dogs in America. ?Thirty-nine percent of US households are home to at least one dog, making them the most popular domestic pet by household. Dogs are also the most expensive pet to keep. The average owner spends $225 per animal on veterinary visits. One reason dogs are more expensive than other pets is that they are more likely to develop diseases like arthritis.
One in five dogs over the age of seven has some form of arthritis, according to a recent study. The disease can inflame the joint and cause degeneration in the cartilage, fluid and bones of the joints. As you might expect, this often causes pain and discomfort in the affected animal. Let us take a moment to review the most common types of canine arthritis.
As we mentioned, there are hundreds of different types of canine arthritis. But since we don't have the time to review them all, we will focus on a few of the most popular types. ?Osteoarthritis, immune-mediated, infective and idiopathic (unknown cause), are the most common types of arthritis in dogs. ?Because they age faster than many other animals, osteoarthritis (literally bone and joint inflammation) is the most common form of the disease.
What is it?
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that causes the cartilage to degenerate, which makes moving incredibly uncomfortable, even painful. The hips, the back and the shoulders are most frequently affected areas.
How to spot it
Every animal that has ever drawn breath on this big spinning ball we call Earth slows down as it ages. But arthritis is different. When a dog has the disease, he will refuse to engage in the activities he once enjoyed. He does this because the pain of moving is simply too great for him to endure.
More often than not, the dog will demonstrate less interest in taking walks or going outside. If the animal lives in a multi-level home, he may be reluctant to climb the stairs. Just as in human beings, pain and general stiffness is often worse in the morning. In advanced cases, it may be possible for an owner to detect swelling of the joints.
How to treat it?
One of the most tragic things about canine arthritis is that many pet owners simply cannot afford treatment. Visits to the vet and prescription pills can be incredibly expensive and many owners, particularly older ones, simply cannot afford them. Fortunately, there are inexpensive supplements that are safe, effective and natural.
A popular natural supplement for humans who suffer from arthritis, glucosamine also works on dogs. ?Numerous tests have confirmed that glucosamine can help repair damaged joint cartilage by facilitating the production of a glycosaminoglycan, which helps build stronger joints.
If possible, it is best to purchase the supplement from a quality name brand.Like most medications for dogs, the pills must be concealed in an appetizing meal. Because most vets recommend larger doses to start, it may be necessary to pulverize these pills and mix them in with the dog's food.Otherwise, you pet will probably eat around them.
As the name suggests, an anti-inflammatory prevents inflammation in the joints, which means it can alleviate pain, stiffness, and can even reduce swelling. ?Boswellia, yucca extracts, and aspirin are other affordable, natural anti-inflammatories. Yucca is a plant extract that acts as a kind of natural steroid that can help reduce pain.
Also known as frankincense, boswellia is a drug that works on the vascular system to help reduce inflammation on a cellular level. Finally, aspirin (the kind you find in your medicine cabinet at home) is an age-old anti-inflammatory that can help reduce pain and swelling in the joints. Always consult a veterinarian before you administer any new treatment.
When a young dog manifests symptoms of arthritis, it is almost always the result excessive weight gain. Just as in humans, too much body weight puts undue stress on the joints and causes them to break down before their time. A pet owner should work with her veterinarian to create a proper diet and exercise plan.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Known as NSAIDS for short, these prescription pills are the most effective pharmaceutical treatment for advanced arthritis in dogs. Unfortunately, they are also rather expensive. Online apothecaries for pets may offer lower prices for dog owners. Make sure you search the Internet before you purchase an overpriced bottle from your veterinarian. Your dog is likely an important member of your family, or at the very least, a trusted companion. Make sure her transition from puppyhood to adulthood is as pain free as possible with these helpful tips.