Joint pain in dogs is becoming one of the most common health problems seen by owners and veterinarians alike, and unfortunately, there are no tell-tale signs like other common health concerns. The biggest sign is pain, which is something that most animals have adapted to overcome until the illness progresses to the point of where it becomes debilitating.
The hips are one of the most common areas of joint pain in dogs, and is often seen with a decrease in mobility. Joint pain, or more commonly referred to as arthritis is a degenerative illness that gets worse over-time which is characterized by pain which is a later sign.
Below are 5 of the most common signs of joint pain in dogs along with some things to look for.
- Slower moving – dogs that tend to move slower, especially when getting up and laying down which is one of the first signs. With what once was a sprint may now be a gallop, or at least a much slower pace. Some may attribute this to old age which may be true, but accompanied by a specific diagnosis of arthritis, or joint pain.
- Tenderness – palpate the area of the joints or hips, and if you’re dog regresses or withdraws, this may be a sign.
- Swelling or inflammation – when the joints become inflamed, there can be a lack of blood flow to the joint itself. The swelling is caused when the blood vessels in the area dilate causing the joint itself to become inflamed and swell.
- Reduced use of the joint – secondary to pain, dogs are no different than people, and when faced with pain upon mobility it becomes a natural reaction to reduce movement in the joint. This inactivity causes an even bigger problem which includes weight gain and atrophy which leads to more restrictions of mobility. Things that once were a foregone conclusion such as walking up the stairs, jumping up on the couch, and playing with toys may now be a thing of the past.
- Change in attitude – Dogs are playful, curious, and loveable animals by nature. Any deviance from this such as increased sleeping, inactivity, and decreased desires for attention should raise suspicion.
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