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Joint Pain in Dogs - Signs, Causes & Treatment

Dogs of any age can suffer from joint pain, affecting their overall well-being. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe conditions and injuries. Identifying joint pain in dogs can be tricky unless you know the symptoms. Our veterinarians in Clearlake provide information on various types of joint pain in dogs, including their causes and treatments.

Although joint pain can affect dogs of all ages and breeds, it is more common in older dogs. Unfortunately, many pet owners mistake their dog's joint pain for the natural slowing down of aging.

It is crucial to address joint pain in dogs as it can lead to more severe conditions or injuries in the future. In this post, our veterinarians will discuss the different types, causes, symptoms, and joint pain treatments in dogs.

Types & Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Two types of joint issues may be causing pain for your dog: developmental and degenerative. 

Developmental Joint Issues

If a dog's joints don't develop correctly while they're young, it can lead to developmental joint problems that can cause painful symptoms and affect their overall quality of life. These issues are often caused by genetics and may result in more serious injuries, such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia.

Many dog breeds are predisposed to joint issues that can cause pain, and while larger dogs are more likely to experience these problems, developmental joint matters can occur in dogs of any size. For example, Bernese Mountain Dogs often develop elbow dysplasia, while Newfoundlands are prone to issues with the cruciate ligament.

Rottweilers are susceptible to developing joint problems in their ankles and knees. If you plan to buy a dog from a breeder, our veterinarians at Clearlake recommend asking them about any predispositions their lineage or breed may have to joint issues. A good breeder will provide you with that information without prompt, but it's always a good idea to ask if they don't.

Degenerative Joint Issues 

These problems are caused by repeated use of a joint over time. A dog's joint cartilage can wear down, or the tendon can become injured. Cruciate ligament problems are one common type of degenerative joint issue. These can cause the tissues to degenerate over time with repeated use, resulting in more severe problems and pain. 

The actual root causes of degenerative joint issues can vary widely from injuries to stress fractures or osteoarthritis. Larger dogs often develop these, as their weight stresses their joints over time. 

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

Detecting whether your dog is suffering from joint pain can be challenging. Dogs are generally stoic and may continue to participate in activities that cause them pain, especially if they are young and enjoy them - which could worsen their condition.

However, there are some common symptoms that your furry friend may exhibit if they are experiencing joint pain.

  • Limping and stiffness
  • Irritability
  • Frequent slipping while moving about
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Depression
  • Licking, chewing, or biting the affected area
  • Lethargy

Notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause. It might be time to bring them to your Clearlake vet to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treatments For Joint Pain In Dogs 

The appropriate treatment for joint pain and its underlying cause in your dog may vary based on its severity and the specific root cause. Our team at Clearlake Veterinary Clinic is dedicated to providing the highest quality, compassionate veterinary care, including surgical and rehabilitative specialty services.

Conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia require surgical intervention to fix, while a combination can treat some degenerative joint conditions of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise prescribed by your vet if caught early. The primary goal of treating joint pain in your dog is to get them back to their regular mobility and level of activity, as well-developed muscles around the joints can help reduce stress and strain. 

Most treatments will involve an assessment of your dog's weight compared to their size. If they are overweight, a diet may be prescribed to help ease the weight on their pained joints. An active dog is a healthy one.

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

To learn more about how joint pain in dogs is diagnosed and treated. Please call us today to book an examination with our Vets in Clearlake

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Clearlake Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clearlake companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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