What is joint disease?
Many of our pets develop some form of joint disease during their life. It can often be difficult to detect, as pets are unable to tell us when or where they hurt. The more obvious signs are generally only visible to the eye once the disease has progressed. Joint disease can be debilitating and can really impact our pet’s quality of life.
The symptoms of joint disease are often not evident until years after the condition has begun to develop. This may vary depending on your pet’s breed, size and predisposition. Dogs and cats develop joint disease more commonly than other animal species, but all pets, including birds, pocket pets, and reptiles, can develop some form of joint disease. Larger dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweiler’s, Labradors, and Mastiffs are usually more susceptible than smaller breed dogs.
The most common signs of joint disease include stiffness, limping, swelling or favouring of a limb (particularly after sleeping or laying down), inability to rise, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, and noticeable pain.
Joint disease presents as a number of conditions, such as but not limited to:
- ruptured cruciate ligament
- hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia
- luxating patella
Management of joint disease
There are a number of management options for a pet suffering with joint disease. Some include anti-inflammatory pain relief medications and supplements, special diets, acupuncture, physical therapy, and surgical procedures.