6 February 2019 | Doggie health issues

Joint issues in dogs – the painful truth

Most dogs at some point in their lives will suffer with joint issues. While some breeds are more prone to joint problems, general health issues as well as your dog’s predisposition will also play a role in whether your dog suffers or not. The good news is with treatment and observation, your pooch can live a long and relatively pain-free life, even if he suffers from some form of joint problem.

What are the symptoms of a dog suffering with joint health issues?

  • Difficulty getting up and down from lying
  • Trouble jumping onto or off the couch/car – higher objects
  • Slow or stiff when moving, especially after exercise
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Limping
  • Not able to play or run for as long as he used to
  • Holding a leg oddly
  • Favouring one leg

Which breeds suffer from joint health issues?

Typically, it is the larger breeds that are at risk, such as Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Great Danes – but joint issues are hereditary so all dogs are susceptible. If your dog is overweight, this can be a big contributing factor as well. Older dogs are also at risk.

What are the problems associated with joint issues?

Typically there are two main categories when it comes to joint problems: developmental and degenerative.

In the developmental category, hip dysplasia is the most common. It tends to be an inherited condition where the hip joint is not properly formed.

In the degenerative category you tend to find the following:

  • Cruciate ligament disease (Particularly prevalent in Newfoundlands, the ligament degenerates over time and causes instability, resulting in secondary osteoarthritis.)
  • Osteoarthrtisis (caused by the breaking down of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the joint.)

Can dogs suffering from joint health issues be treated?

Unfortunately, once the joint is damaged there is little you can do to completely heal the joint. A hip replacement and other surgical procedures can be performed but in this case, prevention is better than cure. The best would be to treat the discomfort of the dog (see below.)

Keeping your dog fit and healthy with exercise and proper nutrition is vital as it may help prevent arthritis, or possibly slow its onset.

What can I do to ease their discomfort?

A combination of the following will go a long way to ease your dog’s discomfort, but always discuss a pain-management programme with your vet first:

  • A healthy diet, keeping weight under control
  • Moderate exercise
  • Massage will help with range of motion   and will relax stiff muscles
  • Seeing as arthritis tends to worsen during cold weather, warm and dry sleeping areas are a must.
  • Joint supplements such as Regal’s Joint Health Remedy can be used for reduced inflammation, effective pain relief and increased mobility while strengthening the muscular skeletal system and supporting immune health.
  • Anti-inflammatories and pain-relieving medication can help manage the condition. Speak to your vet for advice specific to your dog.

Here’s to freedom of movement for your best friend. Try our Joint Health range.

Available at Dis-Chem stores nationwide. Also available at selected Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay, Spar, and vet and pet stores. Or online at www.takealot.com

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