Is you dog “showing his age”? If so, try this simple test. Compared to several years ago is your dog:
- slower to get up after lying down?
- having problems with jumping in and out of the car or climbing stairs?
- less keen to exercise? Tiring more easily?
- showing any signs of stiffness?
Over 1 million dogs suffer from arthritis in the UK. Up to 650,000 currently receive no treatment at all and the majority of these experience moderate to severe levels of pain. Arthritis is quite common in older dogs but can affect any dogs over the age of one.
Arthritis is a progressive deterioration of joint function that can cause discomfort and pain. Clinical signs vary considerably including lameness, which slowly becomes more severe and frequent with time, or a noticeable stiff gait. These signs are often aggravated by exercise, long periods of lying down or cold weather.
Your vet will be happy to give your dog an arthritis check-up involving assessment of gait analysis, weight, heart rate, pulse rate and joint manipulation as well as history taking to see if any signs of arthritis are being shown at home.
Happily arthritic dogs treated with simple measures like weight reduction, correct exercise and medication often respond with a remarkable increase in vigour. It is important to understand that the medication is usually long-term as although a short course might make a remarkable difference to your dog's energy and agility, if the medication is stopped, your dog's health will relapse again.
Although, impossible to reverse the arthritic changes, in consultation with your vet, if the correct measures are taken older pets can enjoy many more quality years, free from discomfort and pain.