Osteoarthritis is a progressive, degenerative condition in dogs that becomes more severe over time. While there is no cure for this condition, our Avon vets are here to explain how acupuncture, in conjunction with other treatments, can help manage your dog's discomfort and improve their quality of life.
Osteoarthritis or more commonly, arthritis, is a degenerative joint disorder that may lead to the permanent deterioration of the cartilage cushioning your pooch's joints as they move around. This painful condition is generally believed to affect up to 25% of all dogs at some point in their life.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
The pain and discomfort in your dog's joints caused by arthritis may lead to a number of tell-tale symptoms to looks out for that your dog is suffering from this condition. The primary symptoms of arthritis in dogs include:
- Swollen joints
- Reluctance to stand up
- Pain, stillness and lameness
- Restlessness, can't get comfortable
- Refusal to jump, use stairs or run
- Licking joints
- Lack of enthusiasm for walks or play
- Slow shuffling walk
- Whining, irritability or aggression
Causes of Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis is capable of developing your dog regardless of their breed, however, it is most common in larger breeds of our canine companions such as Labrador Retrievers, Golder Retrievers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers.
The root cause of arthritis in your dog is largely unknown but can be commonly associated in acute injuries, hop or elbow dysplasia, dislocations in your dog's knee or shoulder, or cruciate injuries.
Obesity is also commonly associated with arthritis. Excess weight put excess stress on your dog's joints - causing pain and degenerative joint issues over time.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis in Dogs
While arthritis isn't curable, there is a wide range of treatments and accommodations you can incorporate into your dog's day-to-day life in order to help them maintain their mobility and comfort while reducing their pain after being diagnosed with arthritis.
When you bring your dog to the vet for treatment, they may recommend a number of traditional clinical treatments, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort, adequan injections to help lubricate your dog's joints and improve their mobility, or diets and nutritional supplements targeted at improving joint health.
If your dog's arthritis is developing in conjunction with joint dysplasia, cruciate injuries, or other acute conditions, surgical intervention will also likely be recommended to help slow the degeneration of your dog's mobility.
Acupuncture Treatment for Arthritis in Dogs
In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used as a way to promote the healing process for dogs and cats by renewing the balance of energy throughout their body. This treatment involves placing very tiny needles into your pet's skin at points where the blood vessels, nerves and muscles in your dog's body converge.
In a modern sense, acupuncture treatment encourages blood flow to the treated area, boosts the oxygenation of your companion's tissues to encourage their healing and promotes the release of natural painkilling hormones to to help alleviate discomfort.
When conducted alongside other treatments, acupuncture can help to provide your dog with better mobility and increased comfort while living with arthritis.
Prognosis for Dogs with Osteoarthritis
With some effective long-term pain management, treatments and some extra love and care, your dog may be able to enjoy a long, happy and healthy life after their diagnosis with arthritis. Ask your vet to learn more about how to manage your dog's joint pain and how to can help them lead their best life for many years to come.