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Truth about Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Hi guys, this is Nikki, lead veterinary technician with Posh Dog Knee Braces.  Today, let’s discus osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs.  Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in dogs, affecting about 25% of our dog populations.  This is a chronic, not acute, disease that is due to loss of joint cartilage (our buffers), thickening of the joint, and bone formation around the joint leading to pain and limping.  A lot of our OA patients have other developmental issues or disease, which predisposes them to having OA.  This includes Cruciate disease, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, OCD, patella luxation. 

Sometimes, there may not be a reason that this occurs, and a patient just develops for no known reason.  Some factors that can make this worse include obesity, gender, breed, exercise, and diet.

Signs of OA are sometimes reluctance to walk or exercise, acting stiff, limping, bunny hoping while running.  Pain on palpation, possible aggression or discomfort is also usually present.  They hurt and ache.

Osteoarthritis diagnostics include exam and xrays. 

This is why it is always good to have an xray with limping patients over 6 years old, to rule out other things that can cause limping such as OA.

Treatment of OA includes weight and diet control, such as feeding Raw diet or diets with better protein, less carbs.  Limiting the higher impact activities, such as running or jumping, replace with leash walks and range of motion activities.  Physical therapy can really help build back those lost muscles, such as swimming.  Laser therapy can also really help. 

Supplements with fatty acids, such as fish oils, or green lipped muscle have shown to really improve quality.  Adequan injections are one of the only leading products right now specifically formulated to fight OA, and prevent things from getting worse, I strongly recommend.  Bracing may also be needed, to help alleviate the pressure on the joint, and act as a support and shock absorber, especially if it was due to CCL disease.  Bracing may also help build back lost muscle, and alleviate the pain with walks. 

Lastly, some form of anti-inflammatory may be recommended, but there are several natural anti-inflammatories that may be tummy safe, such as CBD oil or white willow bark.

Dogs that have undergone surgery, such as TPLO, have been shown in many studies to have more 77% more OA just 8 weeks post op than before on radiographs.  So, if a patient has had TPLO, there is a much higher chance that dog will develop arthritis later on.

Thanks, and please visit poshdogkneebrace.com with any questions, or visit our Facebook page we are happy to help!

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