What are the signs of arthritis?

4th January 2016

At Bollington Veterinary Centre we see dogs of all ages and breeds limping their way into the surgery in various degrees of pain. Sometimes the lameness is from an injury whilst exercising, sometimes it’s linked to a breed or growth complaint, and frequently it’s caused by arthritis and age related degeneration.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a very common condition affecting millions of dogs worldwide, and in Macclesfield at our Bollington clinic we regularly see dogs struggling.

It’s caused by inflammation of the joints, and usually causes some pain and swelling. We often recognise some breeds or shape of dog are more prone to this condition than others. Any dog struggling with arthritis though deserves help not just to control the pain, but also to slow down the progress of the disease.

What are the signs of arthritis?

  • Lameness – this is the most obvious clue, with a dog either lifting its foot completely off the ground, or protecting the painful limb by only putting partial weight onto the leg. Sometimes the signs are quite subtle, and can include a ‘head bob’ or ‘dropped shoulder’
  • Muscle atrophy – subtle differences in muscle tone and mass can be noticed as a result of disuse. For example a more prominent shoulder blade may be as a result of muscle loss over the shoulder from a fore leg lameness.
  • Walking slowly – a dog that is reluctant to go on long walks or slows down can often be a sign of a dog with joint pain. Your dog may be dawdling for a reason.
  • Yelping – acute pain will often result in a high pitch yelp.
  • Licking excessively – a dog with chronic joint pain may be seen to be licking continuously over the affected area. Many older dogs may be seen licking their paws due to arthritis in the carpal joints.
  • Clicking and creaking – arthritic inflamed joints often make sounds when flexed and extended. If your pet is ‘clicking’ and lame, why not make an appointment to see us atBollington and our vets will be able to help.
  • Difficulty climbing stairs and getting into the car – this is a very common sign, and many of our clients notice this as the first sign of age related arthritis. With so many treatments available these days, don’t let your pet juts put up with the pain.

If you’ve noticed your dog showing any of the signs mentioned above, it may be time to talk to us. Perhaps we can prescribe some medicine to alleviate the pain.