Arthritis in dogs – early signs and treatment
The earlier you discover the symptoms, the better.
Despite many obvious differences between dogs and humans, there are also quite a few fascinating similarities.
One of these similarities is that both species can be affected by several of the same diseases.
Osteoarthritis, also known as arthritis, is an example of a disease that can also affect dogs. Osteoarthritis is a potentially serious disease that can impair a dog's quality of life. Therefore, it is important to detect this health problem as early as possible so that treatment can be initiated. Because there are treatments that can increase the dog's quality of life.
What are the signs of osteoarthritis in dogs?
Osteoarthritis can lead to both pain and reduced mobility in dogs. Signs that the dog has incipient or already developed osteoarthritis may be:
- The dog limps
- Lost interest in walking
- Morning stiffness
- Deprived sleep
- Swollen/warm joints
- Change in behaviour (eg gets irritated faster)
Why and how it affects dogs
The problem with osteoarthritis is the diseases ability to insidiously affect the animal. The symptoms can also vary from day to day, which can make it difficult to make a diagnosis without the help of an expert.
The weather is an example of a variable that can affect how the disease works – pain and reduced mobility often become more prominent in cold weather.
At least one in five dogs will be affected by osteoarthritis in one or more joints during their lifetime. The disease is chronic and progressive. This means that the condition cannot be cured and that it will worsen over time if left untreated.
Older dogs are affected more often than younger dogs, but in theory, anyone can develop osteoarthritis. Genetics also play a role - some dogs are simply more prone to the disease than others.
What happens to the body when the disease develops?
The disease brings joint inflammation, which over time causes the articular cartilage to break down. To compensate, the body will try to strengthen the bone structure by forming more connective tissue and bone tissue. This is done to reduce pain, but at the same time leads to stiffness and reduced mobility. As part of this process, the dog will change its movement pattern and as a result, misload the body. This in itself can contribute to more pain.
Treatment of osteoarthritis/arthritis in dogs
Fortunately, there are medications that can help reduce joint inflammation, which will reduce pain and give the dog an increased quality of life.
But there is also a lot you, as a dog owner, can do yourself.
- Make sure your dog gets enough exercise. Being on the move is important to counteract the development of the disease. In general, it is admittedly better to go for several short walks, than long, intense hikes. Preferably go for walks in the woods and fields - soft surfaces are much better than hard surfaces, such as asphalt.
- Obesity can aggravate the disease because it increases the strain on the joints. Therefore, weight reduction can be an effective measure to reduce symptoms.
What can lildog do?
As we have mentioned, osteoarthritis is difficult to diagnose. Often the disease has been developing for a long time before a diagnosis is made.
This is something lildog wants to change. lildog has a number of practical features that help you become a better dog owner, but eventually, the device will also be able to help detect osteoarthritis at an early stage. This can be done because the device is able to pick up irregularities and changes in the dog's behavioural pattern.
Even if the dog only has mild symptoms, lildog will be able to detect this thanks to the accelerometer, gyroscope and artificial intelligence.
lildog will alert you when the device detects signs of osteoarthritis. The device cannot treat the disease, but gives you the opportunity to contact a professional at an early stage, which increases the chances of early treatment and a milder outcome.
As a lildog customer, you will have access to this functionality for free as soon as we introduce it. Stay tuned to the app and our website to stay up to date.