Not Just An Old Dog Condition

By Jon Bernstein, DVM

We humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from arthritis. Our dogs can get it too and it can be caused by several issues. Arthritis is technically any inflammation of any joint. There are several types of arthritis including infectious, autoimmunity, injury and degeneration. There are three joints in dogs that are most commonly affected; the hip, the knee, and the elbow.
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition wherein the “socket” is shallow and the “ball” doesn’t fit tightly. Over time, boney changes occur which results in osteoarthritis. Dogs can also have developmental problems with the elbow. The elbow is a complex joint with 3 bones meeting in a very precise manner. If dysplasia (abnormal development) occurs in this joint, severe lameness can occur.

The knee commonly can have one of two conditions. Dislocating patella (knee caps) is hereditary and can cause pain and lead to inability to use the limb. The other common abnormality is due to tearing of a cruciate ligament. This is an acutely painful condition that will lead to a degenerative joint.

There is treatment for all of these joint problems. Some are surgical and some medical. In all cases, early diagnosis affords a better outcome.

If you see your dog limping, or having trouble getting up from a sitting or lying down position, take him/her to the vet. The earlier this condition can be diagnosed the better!

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