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Everything You Should Know About Dog Arthritis

by Sarene Maev Butao May 14, 2019

Everything You Should Know About Dog Arthritis

Important Measures Relating to Dog Arthritis

Between a dog’s joints lays a layer of cartilage which serves as a shock-absorber, and also allows dogs to move easily. Just like the human mechanism, there is also a synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant that helps their process of movement. Arthritis then comes in the form of a complication in the cartilage which causes it to become rough and worn, which then further disables the dog to move with ease.

This would be then be painful and uncomfortable in the joints since arthritis causes the bones to rub on each other since the synovial fluid will fail its lubricating duties. Usually, these alterations are in the form of abnormal alignment of bones as well as in the hip joint socket.

Some of the frequent cases include: ageing, trauma, and the wear and tear of joint structure. Aside from this, dogs that pack a huge amount of weight are more prone to acquiring arthritis at an earlier age since more pressure are applied in their joints. The most common areas that are affected by arthritis are the hips, elbow, spine, knees and shoulders.

Types of Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis

Also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, osteoarthritis is a chronic condition. This is the deterioration of the articular cartilage in the joints, which will then cause the painful inflammation. It can occur in one or more of a dog’s joints and will continuously degenerate.

  • Septic Arthritis

Septic Arthritis is usually caused by a bacterial infection in the fluid which surrounds the joint. In rare cases, this type of arthritis can also be caused by a fungal infection. When the bacteria or fungus makes its way to the joint from an exposed area, the joint fluid will become septic. Especially during open surgeries, bacterial infection is always a risk factor, thus, making septic arthritis one too.

This type of arthritis can lead to permanent damage to the joint/s. It is not uncommon for a dog to develop osteoarthritis in a joint as an effect of septic arthritis.

  • Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis

IMPA transpires when the immune system attacks the joints and cause painful inflammation.

  • Erosive Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis

This rare form of arthritis causes a lot of damage. Not only does it cause inflammation in the joints, it can make the bone and cartilage of the joint be destroyed.

  • Non-Erosive Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis

This form of arthritis shows many signs and is caused by quite a number of reasons especially those that can be associated with a distant infection of chronic condition.


It is undeniable that arthritis is common to both humans and dogs. Although most cases are typically caused by old age, this condition can also develop in an early age because of bone and joint development. Here are the causes of dog arthritis:

  • Abnormal rubbing within the joint caused by joint instability (e.g. after ligament damage)
  • Damage to or abnormal cartilage development
  • Damage caused by trauma (fractures), penetration of joint by a sharp object or bite
  • Poor nutrition
  • Infection in the joint
  • Stresses on the joint (in cases of a working dog)
  • Bacteria spread through the blood supply
  • Fungus
  • Tick-borne disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s disease

Symptoms or Signs

Arthritis is a progressive condition, so the initial symptoms can be quite challenging to identify. Some of the signs may be very obvious, if not, subtle and some obscure especially for those dogs that tend to mask signs of pain. Be sure not to confuse it with something like hip dysplasia. Here are the most common indicators that a dog is suffering arthritis:

  • Limping/lameness
  • Inactivity (reluctance to walk, climb, jump, or play)
  • Slow gait
  • Difficulty in getting up or down
  • Tendency to sleep more than usual
  • Yelping when touched
  • Licking of the affected joints
  • Gain or loss of weight
  • Depression, nervous and/or aggression

These symptoms may get worse when the animal has been inactive for so long or is in the cold weather for a long time. As the arthritis continues, these signs become more obvious especially with the growing pains.

Therapy for Dog Arthritis

Stem Cell Treatment

Regenerating cartilage, tendons, muscles, and even bones can be achieved by having dog stem cells. This method can differentiate into specialized cells which then can further cause regeneration. These cells help in reducing scar tissue formation. With their trophic, immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects, they are able to activate the body’s own stem cells and modulate the local environment to ultimately stimulate tissue regeneration.

This therapy is a technique wherein stem cells are harvested from an animal, isolated, and then injected directly into the affected joints. Although the stem cell treatments vary from clinic to clinic, the most common method is known as the autologous stem cell therapy. This is where, under anesthesia, the dog’s fat is minimally removed by the veterinarian where it can be isolated and multiplied to make a stem cell treatment, which will then be injected back directly into the affected joint of the animal. Stay tuned with Petclever to get more research on pets.

Sarene Maev Butao
Sarene Maev Butao

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