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Dog Joint Pain: Signs and Symptoms

Dog Joint Pain: Signs and Symptoms

Joint pain symptoms are a frequent reason for dogs to be examined by our Rabun County veterinarians. While joint pain is frequently associated with aging, there are effective treatments available for dogs of any age or activity level.

Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Joint pain can be seen in dogs of all breeds and ages but is much more common in senior large breed dogs.

What many dog owners mistake for their dog "slowing down" due to old age is frequently a symptom of joint pain rather than the aging process. And, if left untreated, this condition frequently progresses to more serious injuries or conditions. Our veterinarians discuss the different types, causes, symptoms, and treatments for joint pain in dogs.

Two types of conditions can cause your dog to experience joint pain: developmental and degenerative.

Developmental Joint Conditions

Developmental joint problems are caused by abnormal joint development in your dog's early years, which is frequently inherited, and can result in more serious injuries such as hip or elbow dysplasia. These issues are present from the start in your puppy.

Many dog breeds, particularly large and giant dogs, are predisposed to painful joint issues such as:

  • Rottweilers are prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs commonly develop elbow dysplasia
  • Newfoundlands are one of the breeds that are most prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
If you are purchasing a dog from a breeder, you should inquire about the breed's or lineage's proclivity for joint problems. While a good breeder will provide this information without prompting you, it never hurts to inquire if you do not receive it.

Degenerative Joint Conditions

Over time, repeated use results in degenerative joint issues. These conditions include cartilage deterioration and tendon injury. The most common of these joint problems are cruciate ligament problems. Pain occurs when tissues degenerate over time as a result of repeated use, resulting in increasingly severe problems.

The underlying cause of degenerative joint problems can vary significantly, ranging from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. However, they frequently develop in larger dogs, whose increased weight places a greater strain on their joints over time.

Symptoms of Joint Pain To Be On The Lookout For

Dogs adore being active and having fun, which makes determining whether your dog is experiencing joint pain difficult. Young and middle-aged dogs suffering from the early stages of joint pain frequently continue to participate enthusiastically in activities that cause them pain (or lead to worsening of their condition).

To help your dog avoid increasingly severe pain due to joint issues watch for the earliest signs of joint discomforts, such as:

  • Limping and stiffness
  • Irritability
  • Frequent slipping while moving
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Depression
  • Licking, chewing, or biting the affected area
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it's a good idea to book an appointment with your vet, to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treatments For Joint Pain In Dogs 

Joint pain treatment will vary according to the severity of your dog's condition and the underlying cause. While hip or elbow dysplasia will require surgery to correct, other degenerative joint conditions may be treated with a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise if detected early.

Additionally, your dog's examination will include a comparison of your pup's weight to their size. If they are overweight, they are putting an additional strain on their joints, and a diet may be prescribed to help alleviate the strain on their painful joints.

The goal of joint pain treatment is to reintroduce your dog to pain-free normal mobility and activities. This is critical because strong muscles surrounding your dog's joints help to reduce the stress and strain placed on them. An active dog is a dog that is healthy.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing signs of joint pain contact our Rabun County vets today to book an examination for your pooch. Our vets can help your dog to move more comfortably again.

We Can't Wait To Meet You!

Rabun Animal Hospital is currently accepting new patients! Our wonderful veterinarians are dedicated to the health and happiness of Rabun County dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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