Dogs are not only the most devoted and loyal creatures, but often the most positive and mobile. But what if the pathological condition of the joints limits their activity, causes pain and discomfort? This happens if arthritis develops in dogs - inflammation in the articular tissue, due to which the limbs cannot fully move. How can you help your pet, and what does veterinary medicine offer for treating pathology?
Types of arthritis and its causes
More recently, experts have not suspected that arthritis affects not only the joints of people, but also pets. And the signs of a pathological disorder in an animal were associated with age-related changes. Therefore, the disease that occurs in dogs is not so well studied.
There is a conditional division of arthritis into the following types:
- Genetic - is detected in representatives of ornamental, obtained by breeding, rocks, they initially occur mutation of cartilage tissue.
- Purulent - develops when inflammation occurs in the tissues surrounding the joint - due to injuries, infection with bacteria, etc.
- Traumatic - the causes of its development can be a blow or a sprain of muscles and ligaments that are located around the joint. Between the muscle and bone tissue, a cavity appears, into which blood and fluids enter - a puffiness, hematoma appears. If the pathology is temporary and treatable, then the arthritis is called functional.
- Rheumatoid - develops when the body is infected with bacteria that have a certain "similarity" with bone and cartilage cells. The immune system begins to attack the body to eliminate the "enemy". Rheumatoid form of the disease is attributed to autoimmune pathologies that are very difficult to diagnose and treat.
- Metabolic (dystrophic) - develops against the background of impaired metabolic processes, which also affect the process of cartilage renewal, which leads to their thinning. Most often, this disease occurs in fast-growing puppies and dogs with high body mass.
A provoking factor can be called a slippery floor covering on which the dog can slip, get bruises and stretches. In the house where the dog lives, it is better not to cover the floor with smooth linoleum, tile or parquet.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis is accompanied by a complex of symptoms, some of which are hard to miss:
- inflamed joints increase in volume (this is especially noticeable on the large joints of the limbs);
- the joint affected by arthritis loses mobility, it decreases due to swelling;
- soreness - even a slight movement causes severe, unbearable pain in a dog;
- the dog rests most of the time, resting on the healthy "side" of the body; if the inflammatory process is bilateral, then it may choose to rest an unnatural situation that does not cause pain;
- decrease in activity - the pet reluctantly responds to the call for a walk, can completely abandon games, has difficulty during descents or ascents on steps; can't get on a favorite sofa, etc .;
- weight gain - the dog gets fat, but at the same time eats less than usual; This is due to low mobility and activity.
The changed behavior of the pet should alert: after all, dogs often suffer pain, and only the accompanying signs show that something is wrong with their health.
In some diseases, it turns out that caring and proper care is more important than taking medication. And arthritis belongs specifically to the diseases of this category:
- the owner must provide the pet with the most comfortable conditions in order to exclude factors capable of causing aggravation of the painful symptoms;
- it is necessary to properly arrange the place of the dog - to lay a soft mattress or pillow, a filler capable of taking the shape of the body is ideal You will also need a heating pad or heated bedspread;
- if the house has a slippery floor, it is better to cover it with carpet or some other covering;
- sunbathing is good for the pet, but to reduce the load, walking time is worth reducing; it is also worth protecting it from fellow wishing to play and frolic;
- if the dog is undergoing training, then group lessons should be temporarily abandoned, the same applies to additional courses; but when undergoing general training, which ensures obedience and socialization of the dog, it should not be stopped, even in the presence of chronic diseases;
- it is necessary to take into account the risks of gaining excess weight - when the physical activity of the animal is reduced, it can be transferred to a lightweight diet;
- An arthritic dog is additionally given vitamin and calcium supplements;
- water procedures have an excellent effect - they strengthen muscle tissue, relieve pain and discomfort;
- massage - if you stroke your pet's paws in a circular motion - from bottom to top, you can improve blood flow, warm up muscles, reduce pain; A warming agent can be used for the procedure - it can be purchased at a veterinary pharmacy;
- An important aspect is regular visits to the veterinarian - at least once every 5-6 months, this will allow for timely detection of changes and adjustment of therapy.
Experts warn that warming up the inflamed areas with purulent inflammation is contraindicated. If there is a suspicion of suppuration, it is best to consult with a veterinarian. The owner’s help in treating arthritis is invaluable, but only if he does everything correctly, according to the prescribed treatment regimen.
As soon as the dog becomes lethargic, begins to limp and behave not as usual, it should be taken to a veterinary clinic or call a specialist at home. Often the disease manifests itself in such a way that it is difficult to determine which joint was inflamed, one or several limbs were affected.
To diagnose pathology, the veterinarian asks the owner to perform several exercises with the pet, after which he feels the joints in order to detect inflammation. A painful reaction to touch confirms that a pathological process occurs in this joint.
Later, the dog is given an X-ray image of the limbs and appropriate therapy is prescribed. In some cases, laboratory testing of fluid accumulated in the affected joint is recommended.
When choosing a treatment, first of all, the cause of the development of arthritis, the severity of the condition and the form of the pathology are taken into account. The basis of therapy is the use of drugs from the following groups:
- painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs (Metakam, Rimadyl, Onsior) - reduce pain and prevent the spread of inflammation; if such drugs are not on hand, you can give your pet acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin), but this medicine is not suitable for long-term therapy;
- chondroprotectors (products containing glucosamine and chondroitin) - restore depleted, thinned cartilage tissue, strengthen it and protect against infection; they must be given to the dog for a long time - up to six months;
- antibiotics are recommended if inflammation is caused by pathogenic bacterial pathogens.
In addition, the specialist designates a series of exercises that should be performed with a pet. They contribute to the speedy recovery and faster rehabilitation of the patient. If during classes there are signs of pain and discomfort, they should be stopped immediately.
Therapy should be gentle, as excessive intensity can trigger the progression of the disease. With severe inflammation, experts advise to visit the pool with the dog. This will strengthen the muscles, without much effort on the part of the sick animal.
A course of massage and a number of physiotherapy are also prescribed - electrical stimulation, thermotherapy, which help to improve the condition of the affected joints. When prescribing a treatment, the veterinarian warns that in certain situations it will be necessary to complete not one, but several therapeutic courses. In addition, you will need to periodically appear for routine inspections.
In some clinics, stem cell therapy is practiced. This is an innovative method of treating arthritis, during which the dog is taken from adipose tissue and stem cells are extracted from it - the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Then the resulting material is injected into the joint. The event allows not only to eliminate unpleasant symptoms, but also to restore damaged tissue.
If a patient comes to the clinic with a severe form of arthritis, often arising from severe trauma, torn ligaments or fractures, surgery may be required.
Arthritis, without timely treatment, can literally immobilize an animal, deprive it of a full life. Therefore, it is important to treat this pathology in the initial stages, without waiting for complications.