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Joint Pain in Dogs

Our Seymour vets often see dogs in their office due to symptoms of joint pain. Although a common reason for joint pain is aging, there are effective treatments available to relieve discomfort in dogs of any age or activity level.

Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Joint pain in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, aging, obesity, injury, and certain medical conditions such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to accurately diagnose the underlying cause of joint pain in order to provide appropriate treatment and management for your dog's comfort and mobility.

Your dog may experience joint pain due to two types of conditions: developmental and degenerative.

Developmental Joint Conditions

Improper joint development during puppyhood is referred to as 'developmental' joint conditions. Genetics often play a role in this medical condition, which can lead to more severe injuries such as hip or elbow dysplasia. Your pup has had these issues right from the beginning.

Painful joint issues are common in many large and giant dog breeds, including:

  • Rottweilers: prone to developing knee and ankle joint problems.
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs: commonly develop elbow dysplasia.
  • Newfoundlands: prone to developing issues in their cruciate ligament.
If you are getting a dog from a breeder, you should ask them about any predispositions their breed or lineage might have to joint issues. A good breeder will provide you with that information unprompted, but it never hurts to ask!m a breeder, you should ask them about any predispositions their breed or lineage might have to joint issues. A good breeder will provide you with that information unprompted, but it never hurts to ask!

Degenerative Joint Conditions

Your dog's joints degenerate over time due to repeated use, just like in humans. Conditions like cartilage wearing down or tendon injuries can occur. These kinds of joint issues often involve problems with the cruciate ligament, which can cause pain as tissues degenerate over time. Your beloved pet may experience increasingly severe issues and extreme discomfort as a result.

Degenerative joint issues can have various root causes, ranging from stress fractures to injuries or osteoarthritis. Larger dogs often develop these issues due to the increased stress on their joints caused by their weight.

Symptoms to Look For

Dogs thrive on activity and enjoyment, making it challenging to detect any signs of joint pain they may be experiencing. Dogs in their youth and middle age who are dealing with initial joint pain often persist in engaging in activities with great enthusiasm, even if it causes them discomfort or exacerbates their condition.

Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of joint discomfort to prevent their pain from worsening. Look out for early indicators such as:

  • Limping and stiffness
  • Irritability
  • Frequent slipping while moving
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Licking, chewing, or biting at the painful area
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it's a good idea to book an appointment with your vet, to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Is joint pain in dogs a veterinary emergency?

While not always considered a veterinary emergency, severe joint pain that is sudden or accompanied by other symptoms such as limping, swelling, or reluctance to move should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. 

When should I bring my dog to the vet?

You should bring your dog to the vet for joint pain if they are showing signs of limping, stiffness, reluctance to move, or if they are yelping or whining when touched. As mentioned above, though joint pain isn't always considered a veterinary emergency, it's best to err on the side of caution.

Treatments For Your Dog

Treatment for joint pain in dogs depends on the severity of their condition and the underlying cause. Surgical intervention is necessary to correct conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia, while a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise can be used to treat other degenerative joint conditions if detected early.

During your dog's wellness exam, we will assess their weight based on their breed and size. Being overweight puts extra strain on the joints, so a diet might be recommended to alleviate this pressure.

Helping your dog regain their regular mobility and activities, pain-free, is the main focus of joint pain treatment. It is crucial to note that strong muscles surrounding your dog's joints can effectively minimize the pressure and tension exerted on their joints. A healthy dog is an active dog!

Note: The advice provided in this post is for informational purposes and is not to be considered medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing signs of joint pain, contact our Seymour vets today to book an examination. Our vets can help your dog to move more comfortably again.

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Questions about your pet's medical care? Need to book an appointment? We're always happy to hear from our clients, so contact us today!

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