Hip and joint problems in senior dogs

As an observant pet parent you will be able to notice signs of joint discomfort in your pet, especially once they enter their senior years. The easily noticeable signs include trouble getting up or settling down, if they appear slow and stiff while walking, difficulty in climbing stairs, if you notice them favoring a particular leg, limping, joint swelling and excessive panting.  

Causes of hip and joint discomfort in senior dogs

Hip dysplasia in dogs

The main cause of hip dysplasia is the poor formation of the hip socket which results in further damage and arthritis. This unfortunate condition is most commonly seen in breeds like the Labrador retriever, German shepherd and Golden retriever. Yet, other breeds can also be similarly affected with the same condition. If the condition is detected earlier by your vet then you will have plenty of treatment options.

Various surgical options such as triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), hip replacement, femoral head ostectomy (FHO) and pubic symphodesis can be done in consultation with your vet.

Maintaining the ideal weight is crucial for senior dogs with hip and joint problems. Overweight dogs will suffer from more joint pain and other complication so weight control is necessary for dogs predisposed to a hip or joint condition. So, apart from shedding out extra weight certain medications and supplements can be given to your pet which will greatly reduce their discomfort.

Osteoarthritis in dogs

Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that occurs as a result of years of wear and tear in their joints. It is most commonly seen in senior dogs. Osteoarthritis can affect any joints in the body such as the shoulder, hip, back, knee and elbow.

Hip replacement is usually done. Other joint procedures will also be made available in the near future. Maintaining an ideal weight is very important for pets suffering from this condition. So, regular exercise is a must to keep their body active and their muscles strong.

Medications for treating osteoarthritis in dogs

Health supplements such as the Omega-3 fatty acids have anti inflammatory property. This apart from other supplements recommended by your vet will help to repair the cartilage in their joints. There are steroidal and anti – steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can be used to reduce the pain and discomfort. Your vet will help you in choosing the right kind of drug for your pet’s condition.

There are a lot of conditions that can affect your senior pet’s hip and joints. So, it is best that you consult your vet on the supplements, medication and the right diet and exercise plan.        

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