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Most people don’t realize their dog has arthritis as the signs and symptoms can be slow to reveal themselves. It may start with just not jumping up as much or not running as long when playing ball. Most commonly, we see stiffness or reluctance to get up first thing in the morning or after laying for an extended period of time. Maybe your dog is taking the stairs a little bit more slowly or you see he or she limping from time to time. Rarely would you hear them crying or moaning in pain. It is important to watch for subtle signs because even though we have made them part of our family and treat our dogs like humans, they still have a natural instinct to hide the pain. Sometimes the only way to know how painful they were is to give them some medication to manage pain and see how much better they move around.

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What causes arthritis in dogs?

Arthritis means inflammation of a joint. The causes are numerous and can include hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, and patellar (knee cap) luxation to name a few. Working, athletic and obese dogs are more at risk as they are placing more stress on their joints. Dogs with medical conditions affected collage or cartilage, like Cushing’s disease and Hypothyroidism are also more at risk.

What are some treatment options for arthritis in dogs?

Weight management is a very important component of treatment of arthritis in dogs. Many other modalities can be used and may include things like special diets, physical therapy, pain management, muscle strengthening, laser treatments, and chondroprotective treatments.

Can I give my dog aspirin?

Aspirin is a drug that has been around for a long time. Many people say that the regulations controlling drug safety would never allow acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to be on the market if it were released today. Dogs are sensitive to the effects of ASA when it is used on a regular basis as their intestinal tracts are much more sensitive than ours. We have much safer drugs available for long-term use for dogs. If you do give your dog ASA, you may have to wait several days before using another drug that may be prescribed by one of our doctors, so please be sure to inform us if your dog has received any ASA.

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