The dog’s joint is made up of at least two bony ends that are “congruent,” they are positioned correctly concerning each other so that the joint moves and works correctly. Leg movements are performed around the joints.
The ends of the bones present in a joint are covered by cartilage (a layer of soft, flexible tissue that covers the bone and allows it to protect itself from shock and friction). Around most of the joints, there is a bag containing a lubricating fluid, the synovium, which is therefore called the synovial capsule.
In the case of osteoarthritis, the fluid in the synovial capsule lights up and causes the destruction of part of the cartilage. The disappearance of cartilage creates inflammation around the bone that is protected. There is osteoarthritis.
The causes of inflammation are often due to the “incongruity” of the joint: because the ligaments that keep the bones well positioned are too loose, the bones do not normally move with each other in the ‘joint. Friction appears and, therefore, osteoarthritis. This is what happens, for example, in canine dysplasia.
Osteoarthritis can also appear through wear and tear as the dog ages.
Osteoarthritis in dogs is manifested by pain and lameness, which is more pronounced (in the morning, for example) before exercise and may disappear or improve when the dog walks. We are talking about cold limp. It evolves by the crisis, and the dog alternates between periods without limp and periods of limp. The more time passes, the more time decreases without a limp. And the pain is getting more marked. Sometimes we notice that the claws of the limbs are longer because the dog relieves its member by using it less. It is degenerative, that is, it does not improve because the more time passes, the more cartilage disappears.
What are the causes of osteoarthritis in dogs?
In addition to that of the old dog, the causes of dog osteoarthritis are quite simple:
Dysplasia in the dog’s hip, elbow, or shoulder. These dysplasias particularly affect the Labrador and other large or giant breed dogs such as the Bernese mountain dog. This growth abnormality is hereditary—breeders of the breeds in question work to prevent their spread by excluding dogs affected by breeding.
Patella dislocation. The ligaments that hold the patella in place during movements of the knee joint and / or the shape of the patella and the bone it slides on (the femur) are not adapted and create inconsistency at the level of the ‘joint. Patellar dislocation is very common in small breed dogs.
Poorly healed fracture. A poorly healed fracture will change the orientation of the bones and, even more so, if it occurred in the joint, will create inflammation in the joint.
Inflammations All other causes of joint inflammation can create osteoarthritis in dogs.
What treatments for a dog suffering from osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis in dogs is a chronic and degenerative disease. Therefore, the treatment of osteoarthritis consists of slowing down the progression of the disease, as well as spacing and reducing seizures.
Treatment of pain from arthritis attacks involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (usually non-steroidal). To ensure that your often elderly dog can receive this treatment without risk to his health, your vet will be able to regularly check the condition of the kidneys and liver with biochemical analyzes of the blood. Dogs that can no longer receive anti-inflammatory medications will be prescribed morphine derivatives to combat pain. Treatment of the attack of pain can be done using an injection of an anti-inflammatory drug, and then the confidence is made by daily oral medication. There are long-term injections of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (consult your vet). Anti-inflammatory drugs cause significant side effects, so we avoid giving them continuously and reserve them to relieve pain and calm inflammation during arthritis attacks.
Between crises or to try to stop a crisis from starting, you can give your dog dietary supplements by treatment or on an ongoing basis.
These supplements contain chondroprotective (cartilage protectors) like glucosamine and chondroitin. Associated with these chondroprotective, we sometimes find other molecules that allow the dog to lose weight (excess weight is an aggravating factor of dog osteoarthritis), plant extracts that have the power to relieve pain (such as harpago phylum), anti-inflammatory or antioxidant (like turmeric).
Preventing seizures and reducing pain can also go through alternative or natural and non-medicated techniques. These techniques are complementary to drugs.
Physiotherapy with laser, electrostimulation, massages …
Swimming (in the sea or in a pool, with or without a treadmill)
Consult a physical therapy center or an osteopath.