Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Osteoarthritis in dogs (OA) is the disease of bones which is also memorised as theDegenerative Joint Disease of dogs. It is one of the most common diseases of dogs that mostly affect the senior and large breeds of dogs. There is no effective treatment of OA, but early diagnosis and proper management can alleviate the pain and minimize its progression.

What do you mean by Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the degenerative and devastating disease of joints that prevails due to the deterioration of cartilage. The cartilages begin to dissolves in the elder ages, and there might be the factor of breed and disease. The cartilages act as cushions between the joints that allow them a full range of motion.

Likewise, the waning cartilages due to some diseases, injuries, and advancing age lead to losing the protective cushions among joints. This situation exhibits itself by inflicting severe pain, inflammation, and the formation of bones spurs in dogs. Moreover, it also loses the full range of motions by joints.

All the body joints are easily susceptible to osteoarthritis, while the limbs and lower spine are more prone.

What are the possible risk factors of Osteoarthritis in dogs?

The risk factors of Osteoarthritis in dogs have a close relationship with advancing age. When your furry fellow gets of years, the chances of cartilage deterioration also increase. You need to stay up-to-date with the veterinary visits to catch the signs before the situation becomes complicated.

The chances of getting Osteoarthritis in dogs are greater when they become senior, but there are some predisposing factors like;

  • Obesity

  • Large breeds (Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers)

  • Excessive stress from athletic games

  • Trauma (tearing of ligaments)

  • Fractures

  • Joint infections (Lyme disease)

  • History of the elbow and hip dysplasia

  • Lack of proper nutrition

  • Conformation disparities

  • Age (middle to senior)

  • Genetics

What are the possible clinical signs of osteoarthritis in dogs?

The detection of early osteoarthritis is difficult in dogs due to their stoic nature. They tend to bear the pain and hide the disorder as far as possible from their owners until the disease becomes severe. Moreover, you need to get the maximum veterinary visits for your senior dogs for the early diagnosis.

The signs that have an association with the joint inflammations are the same as that of osteoarthritis. These include;

  • Lethargy

  • Overweighting

  • Hesitation to jump and run

  • Stiffness of joints

  • Lameness

  • Pain on patting

  • Behavioral changes like irritation

  • Difficulty in getting up

  • Change in urination and defecation posture

  • Atrophy of limb and spine muscles

In addition, if you have senior dogs at your home, you should try to keep on checking the range of motion of joints. It will help you to catch the signs early despite the complete loss of joint function.

Furthermore, the veterinarian will better help your dog by recommending X-rays of suspected joints to confirm the extent of the damage.

How can you treat osteoarthritis in your dogs?

The treatment of any degenerative disease is difficult to carry out. The only thing you can do in such cases is to diagnose the disease early and plan the things that can slow down its progress. In the same way, you can not exactly cure osteoarthritis, but you can alleviate the pain and inflammation by using multifaceted drugs.

The best thing that you can do is to improve the quality of life of your dog. You can ensure the provision of a balanced diet and promoting regular exercise. It would be better for osteoarthritis dogs to get joint supplements that promise healthy joint functions.

Are joint supplements better to alleviate the signs of osteoarthritis in dogs?

Joint supplements show better results for improving the functions and health of joints–chondroitin and Glucosamine help to reduce the progression of inflammation and promote healing. Moreover, there is evidence of water retention in joint cartilages that enhances its cushioning effects, allowing painless joint motion.

Likewise, Green-lipped mussel (GLM) is another beneficial dietary supplement that has the ability anti-inflammatory ability. The presence of beneficial nutrients, antitoxins, omega-3 fatty acids, and glycosaminoglycans in GLM help to decrease pain and preserve joint functions.

In addition to joint supplements, NSAIDs are also favorable to reduce the pain in joints. These Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are potential pain-reliever and enhance patient’s comfort levels.

Are there any additional treatment options for osteoarthritis in dogs?

The treatments of degenerative diseases vary with the severity and the extent of tissue damage. In certain cases, veterinarians recommend physiotherapy, Hydrotherapy, cold laser, acupuncture, and diet plans to eliminate the Osteoarthritis. Sometimes, there is no option but the surgical removal of damaged joint tissue.


Degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis need the early diagnosis and adoption of an effective managemental approach. In this way, you can avoid your four-legged furry fellows facing the worst of the disease.