Canine Arthritis

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Canine arthritis causes pain and inflammation of the joints. Approximately 90 percent of geriatric dogs are diagnosed with some form of arthritis. However, the condition can affect young and middle-aged dogs as well.

Types and Causes
There are three main types of canine arthritis:

Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease in which the joints slowly degenerate. Injury, genetic health conditions like hip dysplasia, and other health problems involving the joints can cause it.


This type of arthritis develops when the dog’s own immune system attacks connective tissue in the body. There are two forms of immune-mediated arthritis: erosive and none-erosive. Erosive arthritis causes deterioration of the joint cartilage, which leads to pain and inflammation, whereas non-erosive arthritis only causes pain and inflammation of the joints.


Infectious diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis, have been associated with canine arthritis. Although it rarely happens, canine arthritis can also develop from a fungal infection.


  • Some of the common symptoms linked to canine arthritis are:
  • Decreased activity levels
  • Trouble getting up after being in a resting position
  • Stiff joints
  • Pain and inflammation of the joints
  • Abnormal gait (limping, lowered hips, etc.)
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual aggression (when playing or being petted)

A physical exam and X-rays are the basic requirements for diagnosing arthritis in dogs. The veterinarian may also order an MRI, CT scan, and blood tests if necessary.

Treatment Options

Canine arthritis is a progressive disease, which means it cannot be cured and slowly gets worse. There are, however, various ways to manage the condition so that your dog can have a normal life.

Some of the options available to treat arthritis in dogs include:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, supplements (glucosamine, omega fatty acids, etc.), and opioid drugs are often used to manage pain and inflammation in arthritic dogs.

Physical therapy:

Exercise can help manage weight in dogs with arthritis, as well as stimulate the generation of cartilage, slow down joint deterioration, and reduce joint pain.


Surgical correction is typically the last option for treating canine arthritis because of the risks involved. However, it can be very beneficial for dogs with a severe form of the condition. Treatment may involve repair, replacement, or relocation of the affected joint.


There’s no way completely prevent arthritis in dogs. But there are a few things you can do to minimize the risks. Some of these things include keeping your dog at a healthy weight, providing sufficient exercise, feeding a well-balanced diet, and taking your dog into the vet’s office for regular checkups.