top of page

Arthritis in dogs

Several good articles on what is Arthritis and how to help your dogs with arthritis

Article taken from

What are Arthritis?

Studies show that one in five dogs suffer from arthritis. As a pet owner, you may feel that your aging dog is slowing down and becoming less active due to maturity. In fact, he may be experiencing joint pain. Arthritis is a chronic illness and can become debilitating. There are many ways to approach relieving your dog of arthritic pain. As pet owners, we must remember that canines are brave creatures who will often mask their discomfort. We have to be proactive, and take the initiative in caring for a dog who may have arthritis. Arthritis is the most common source of pain for our canine friends as they age, but the condition can also be seen in very young dogs. A degenerative disease, arthritis most often results from everyday wear and tear on the joints. In order to preserve your pet’s quality of life, visit the veterinarian to receive advice and arthritis therapy. Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs The signs of arthritis in your dog may be very subtle.

The most common indications are listed here.

Lameness and stiffness (especially after rest)

Slow gait Difficulty in rising from rest

Lethargy and tendency to sleep more

Urinating indoors

Muscle atrophy (wasting away)

Swelling or heat may be evident Pain, which may be vocalized when touched

Licking of joints

Gain or loss of weight

Depression Nervous or aggressive behavior

Reluctance to jump, or to be active


There are five types of arthritis in dogs, with two primary forms being most common. Degenerative Joint Disease

This is also known as osteoarthritis The condition occurs when there is friction between the bones because of the erosion of cushioning cartilage Purebred dogs are known to have an increased tendency for DJD (for example hip dysplasia in German Shepherd) Bone spurs can develop

Inflammatory Joint Disease

This can be caused by an infection Single and multiple joints can be involved It can also be the result of an inherited immune system flaw

Metabolic (bleeding into joints), crystalloid (crystals form in the joints), and neoplastic (joint cancer) are much more rare.

Causes of Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis can be very uncomfortable for your pet. With a variety of causes for the condition, you should always consult the veterinarian with concerns of lameness or behavioral changes in your dog. Cartilage deficits Previous injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament Poor nutrition Trauma after a car accident, penetration of joint by a sharp object, or bite Infection in the joint Stresses on the joint, such as those that may occur with a working dog Disruption of cartilage, bone, synovial membranes, and ligaments that support a joint Bacteria spread through the blood supply Fungus Tick-borne disease Cartilage and lubricating fluid between the joints is damaged Congenital joint disorders like elbow dysplasia Age Obesity Diabetes Cushing’s disease

Diagnosis of Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis may be hard to detect at home because your furry family member can hide his pain and discomfort so well. The veterinarian has the knowledge and expertise to diagnose the problem, in addition to identifying any underlying disease processes that may be present. The visit to the clinic will start with a physical exam. The veterinarian will look for the following signs of arthritis. Crepitus (grinding of joint) Abnormal bone formation or a roughness to the bone Joint pain, tenderness, and swelling Poor range of motion, possibly accompanied by pain Muscle atrophy

A radiograph, done while your dog is under general anesthetic, can confirm arthritis. It must be noted that at times, contrast dye should be injected into the joint and then x-rayed for the best visual perspective.