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I think my dog has arthritis, what can I do?

Article ID: 255
Last updated: 16 Sep, 2009
Revision: 1
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Arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is a common problem in older dogs, but can also occur in young dogs. There are various treatments available to help dogs with osteoarthritis.

Signs that indicate your dog could have arthritis include:

  • reduced activity
  • reluctance to walk or play
  • stiffness in the legs (especially in the mornings or after a sleeping)
  • difficulty getting up
  • limping / lameness (harder to spot if it's in both legs)
  • difficulty climbing stairs or jumping up or down
  • lagging behind on walks
  • licking or chewing at the joints
  • yelping in pain when touched
  • personality change (possibly aggression)

To determine whether your dog has arthritis you will need to make an appointment with your vet for a full physical examination and assessment. This is important to ensure a proper diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made, as other conditions can mimic this condition. Your vet will be able to discuss the various treatments available and the best treatment options for your dog. Treatment and management of osteoarthritis differs between individual dogs as individual dogs respond differently to the different treatments available. In addition some dogs may not be able to take certain medicines safely, hence the reason a veterinary assessment is so important.

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