Osteoarthritis in dogs: Causes, Symptoms, treatments and Solutions

In this article, we will look at what osteoarthritis is, what are its impacts on the dog’s health what are its causes and symptoms.

Then we will study ways to avoid your animal suffering from this pathology, finally we will see what it is possible to do to treat and relieve our companions if this one is manifested in them


1 what is osteoarthritis ?
2 What causes osteoarthritis ?
3 What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis ?
4 existing treatments
5 How to facilitate / adapt the life of a dog with osteoarthritis
6 Conclusion
What is osteoarthritis ?

As with humans, dogs age and can suffer from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a real pathology not to be taken lightly. All dogs can suffer from it even though large dogs are more often affected than small ones by their morphology and weight.

This attacks the cartilage and degrades it, which will lead to degeneration of the joints. In general, it is the members of the rear drivetrain who are most affected (hips, knees, elbows) but the back may also be affected.
What causes osteoarthritis ?

Osteoarthritis can occur in many cases:

Old age, as we have seen before, is one of the causes of this pathology. The animal ages, moves less, and its cartilage also degrades. But it also happens that young dogs are affected by osteoarthritis.
Obesity: our companions with age have less desire to move which will lead to weight gain if eating habits are not adapted to his new senior lifestyle.
Dysplasia of the hips, shoulder or elbow is also one of the most common causes of osteoarthritis. Most of the time, large dogs are affected (German shepherd, Bernese herder…). It is a so-called hereditary disease, so it is very important when you adopt a dog, especially of large breed, to find out about the antecedents of its parents at this level.
A poorly healed fracture will also give way to osteoarthritis. If a bone does not heal properly, it may develop inappropriate friction and lead to osteoarthritis.
The dislocation of the patella: this cause will rather affect small breed dogs. In this case, the kneecap is no longer in the axis of the femur and this will cause a lameness. In some cases, surgery will be required. Osteoarthritis is often present in the dislocation of the patella.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis ?

In order to best cure osteoarthritis, its symptoms must be identified. The sooner it is taken in time, the better chance we have of relieving our companion. This pathology has different stages, from at least disabling to most serious.:

The first stage: you will notice that your dog boils with one or more members, have the impression that it is” stiff ” in its walk. Could be the first signs of osteoarthritis.
The second stage: the pain sets in and the animal can “cry”, complain. When you approach the painful limb to touch it, the animal is not accommodating see can bite if the pain is too intense.
The third stage: the limbs are completely blocked. The animal can no longer move or see them can no longer walk.

It should be noted that in all three stages, these symptoms are often observed cold (at the animal’s behest or after a long, motionless moment).
Existing treatments

Once the Osteoarthritis is installed, it is not possible to cure it, however it is quite possible to slow down its evolution and especially to relieve your animal. The first thing to do if you notice any of the above symptoms is to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

He’ll tell you if it’s osteoarthritis or any other pathology. If he confirms that it is indeed osteoarthritis, depending on the stage he will propose different treatments.

If your dog is in the early stages, you can give it regular so-called chondroitin and glucosamine tablets. These two molecules support the joints and slow down osteoarthritis or prevent it from settling. In general, they are given in prevention or at the beginning stage, but even at an advanced stage it is important to continue to give them. In general, what are the treatments for a month, two months.
If your dog is at a more advanced stage, you can continue to give it this cure and in addition anti-inflammatory drugs will be needed to decrease inflammation and thus pain.
Finally if your dog is in the last stage, surgery may be required to put on a prosthesis. Your veterinarian will advise you on this surgery.

How to facilitate / adapt the life of a dog with osteoarthritis

If you live with an arthrotic dog, you can help him in several ways:

If you used to take long walks, it may be necessary to reduce the Walking time or maybe reduce the difficulty of the walk.
Adapt your dog’s food : since your dog will move less, it will be necessary to adapt its food. Senior dog food will be recommended, it is often rich in chondroitin for joint support and less rich to avoid weight gain.
Continue the exercise : this may seem contradictory with the first point but it is important to continue to exercise regularly so that your dog does not lose its muscles, keeps a correct weight. Aquatic exercises such as swimming should be preferred. Hydrotherapy is highly recommended in osteoarthritis but it has a cost. If you can’t take hydrotherapy, you can go swimming at the beach or the river.
Avoid humidity and cold: if you have an arthrotic dog, it is important to keep it warm especially in cold, damp weather. If you went to swim it on a cold day, it is important to dry it well afterwards.
carts: if your companion is at an advanced stage of osteoarthritis and surgery is not possible due to his old age for example (anasthetic risk), there are carts today so that they can continue to live as normally as possible.


The conclusion of this article is to make sure that his animal ages as well as possible. To do this, keep her weight stable throughout her life, adapt her diet, exercise regularly, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian if you have the slightest doubt about a symptom.

In the end, it’s exactly the same as for us so pay attention together while enjoying.

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