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United Kingdom


Dog on vet table


Osteoarthritis is a painful and progressive disease involving joint inflammation, cartilage destruction and eventually bone changes. It is the most common cause of lameness in dogs and is thought to affect over 1 in 5 dogs, the heavier breeds being particularly affected. Although the disease cannot be cured, much can be done to control the associated pain, slow the disease progression and improve quality of life.

It is not uncommon for owners to misinterpret the signs of osteoarthritis as a slowing down due to inevitable old age. However, it is important to observe dogs closely for the signs of osteoarthritis, which include:

  • Decreased activity

  • Reluctance to walk, run, climb stairs, jump or play

  • Stiffness (worse after rest)

  • Limping

  • Difficulty rising from a resting position

  • Lagging behind on walks

  • Soreness when touched

  • Yelping or whimpering in pain

  • Acting aggressively or withdrawn

  • Exhibiting other character changes

A veterinary examination can confirm if your dog has osteoarthritis. X-rays can be taken to diagnose osteoarthritic changes in the joints and sometimes it is necessary to take samples of joint fluid to rule out other causes of arthritis such as infection.

Avoiding excess body weight is the most important thing that an owner can do to prevent or delay the onset and progression of osteoarthritis in their dog. Routine monitoring of your dog’s weight and body condition is a key task in managing this disease and your vet can offer medication for pain relief and dietary advice to help keep your pet mobile.




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