Dog Joint Problems

Written by Beth Hrusch
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The prevention and treatment of dog joint problems has become a major concern to vets and pet owners. Dogs, like people, are living longer due to improved nutrition and advances in medical care. Therefore the natural effects of aging are causing longer-term suffering for dogs. Understanding the causes of arthritis and other joint disorders can help dog owners take the first steps toward treating these debilitating diseases.

The Causes Of Dog Joint Problems

Arthritis affects dogs in the same way that it affects humans. It is generally a disease of middle- and old-age, the onset occurring around five to seven years of age. The reason for this is that by this time, dogs' bodies have been exposed to environmental stresses for roughly half of their lives. They have also been accumulating the by-products of metabolic processes called free radicals that, over time, damage cells.

As these factors start to take their toll on a dog's body, his ability to repair and rebuild tissues decreases. This includes cartilage, the protective tissue that acts as a shock absorber for the joints. Genetics, injury, disease or repetitive motion can also contribute to the breakdown of cartilage the leads to dog joint problems. These factors naturally become more pronounced as a dog ages and his body's defenses wear down.

The Debilitating Effects Of Dog Arthritis

A dog's body continues to defend itself against cartilage breakdown as the dog ages. It produces new cartilage and lubricating fluids that cushion the joints. When functioning normally, this system keeps a dog's joints healthy and flexible. But, when a dog's body can no longer produce enough cartilage to adequately protect the joints, the system gets thrown off. The lubricating fluid accumulates and causes swelling in the joints. At this point, the dog starts to experience pain and stiffness.

If enough cartilage is lost, the bones of the joint start to rub together, grinding against one another. Bones can chip off, and this causes even greater pain. Most dog owners will notice that their pet is now moving slowly, his movements seem stiff and he has difficulty climbing stairs. Whimpering and snapping when the joints are touched is another sign of dog joint problems.

When a beloved pet is clearly in pain, its owner will seek whatever solution is available. In the case of dog joint problems a trip to the vet is in order. Once a diagnosis is made a program of medications and supplements can be prescribed. Some of these arthritis medications bring relief from pain, while others are designed to target the source of the problem. A vet can determine which is best for your dog.

Good News In The Fight Against Dog Joint Problems

Decades of research into dog joint problems have produced products that show promise in the prevention and treatment of dog arthritis. As the medical community has gained knowledge about joint disease in both humans and animals, new possibilities have emerged. The use of chondroitin and glucosamine, naturally-occurring substances that rebuild and maintain cartilage, has been proven to be helpful in relieving the pain of arthritis. Combining them with micronutrients that build collagen increases their benefits.

Repairing and maintaining cartilage is clearly the key to the prevention and treatment of dog joint problems. If a dog is given nutritional supplements that boost his body's ability to fight environmental stress and the damage done by free radicals, he stands a much better chance of avoiding arthritis. While it may be impossible to keep your dog completely free from the pain associated with joint problems, you can tip the odds in his favor. Understanding the causes of dog arthritis is the first step one must take to act against it.

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