Arthritis In Dogs
Arthritis in older dogs is common but it is not normal. It is almost an automatic assumption that because an old dog is slowing down and becoming stiff that he must have arthritis. If your dog is having more difficulty getting out of bed and is less agile, less energetic and less willing to go for long walks, this does not mean he has arthritis. Your dog's quality of life may be compromised by something, but it might not be arthritis.
Appropriately fed and exercised throughout their lives, dogs can continue to play and leap around until the day they die. Wear and tear does not naturally lead to permanent damage and degeneration, because the body has the most remarkable recycling and repair abilities,given the right resources.
Without a thorough physical exam it’s much too easy to reach for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nsaids) . In a physical examination the dog’s joints would be properly checked and a true diagnosis of canine arthritis might be made.
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from arthritis, your veterinarian will be able to examine the sore joints and prescribe pain medication to reduce inflammation of the joint.
They could recommend various joint supplements which may contain anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. The aim of treatment is to help slow the deterioration of the painful joints by reducing inflammation. Once the pain is reduced, mobility of the affected joint may be increased by non-weight bearing physical therapy, such as hydrotherapy, where the dog will be encouraged to walk on a rolling mat while supported in warm water.
Address The Cause Of Arthritis
It would also be wise to address the cause of the problem instead of just trying to reduce the symptoms. Provide your dog with
- proper species appropriate raw food nutrition,
- abundant clean, chemical free water, fresh every day
- avoid all chemicals in the house, in antiparasitic treatments, in vaccines, in shampoos, in fact, in anything your dog comes into contact with, choosing natural alternatives always
- electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) have now been unequivocally proved to cause disturbances in all natural systems which includes your dog’s health . . . and your own.
So with regard to that last point, turn off all electrical appliances at the wall (as the wires generate ‘dirty electricity’ EMFs), turn off all mobile phones (or use airplane mode), computers, routers, modems, smart meters and cordless phones (these are the worst) whenever they are not actually in use.
How Does A Normal Joint Function?
All creatures have evolved with a certain degree of flexibility so that they can move around. It is our joints that allow this essential function. Every joint is encapsulated by a fibrous sheath to form a watertight bubble, filled to capacity with joint fluid. This fluid is secreted and reabsorbed continuously by the membrane lining the joint capsule, so removing any toxins and refreshing the joint surfaces with nutrients.
The surfaces of every bone forming the joint are coated with shiny, smooth articular cartilage, a special type of ultra smooth cartilage which allows the joints to move freely and without friction. The glistening articulating surfaces are not supposed to actually contact each other, but if they do, they should glide over each other with absolute ease.
All the tissues associated with every joint are continuously recycled, removing any damaged tissue and rebuilding it with new, healthy tissue. Joints are not unique in this! The entire body is continuously repairing itself from whatever is available, and this is the key.
Nourish the body with health-giving lifestyle choices and the repairs will be of high quality. The converse is equally true. So let’s take each type of arthritis in turn and look at it in more detail.
Degenerative Joint Disease
The commonest type of canine arthritis is degenerative joint disease.
In the cases of normal joint wear, natural repair mechanisms may have failed due to poor diet, dehydration, reduced blood flow or other underlying medical conditions.
Degenerative joint disease is usually diagnosed as the deterioration of the articular cartilage, but also including all the tissues involved in each joint. If the articular cartilages repeatedly touch each other, their surfaces become damaged and need repair.
Common causes include weakness of the joint capsule, lack of joint fluid, abnormal use of the joint and excessive force being applied to the joint with obesity and violent or excessive movements and sudden turns.
Prevention is the key, so choose healthy lifestyle options for your dog (and yourself) and save yourself a fortune in medications, time spent visiting your veterinarian and heartache from inadvertently inflicting such misery on your dearly beloved dog, your best friend and faithful companion. This condition is entirely preventable!
Autoimmune (Rheumatoid) Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system is so damaged that it sees its own body as the enemy. In this case all sorts of auto (self) immune diseases manifest. In autoimmune arthritis, the white blood cells attack the joint tissues causing pain, swelling and abject misery. Anything that interferes with the immune system can cause this situation, like vaccinations, chemical overload, stress and poor nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Natural systems are finely tuned and need to be treated with respect to prevent such deviations. Removing all potential causes will allow the immune system to correct itself over time.
Septic or Infective Arthritis
A dog may also get symptoms of arthritis from an infection. For example as a result of a foreign body like a thorn or grass seed penetrating the joint or an infected bite wound which could both result in septic arthritis.
This is the rarest type of arthritis in the dog and once diagnosed can be promptly treated with a full course of antimicrobials and possibly surgery. Healthy lifestyle choices render the body more resistant to infections of all types, so will help to prevent infective arthritis from becoming a serious problem.
Septic arthritis is more unusual in dogs than it is in cats because cats’ teeth are much sharper and finer than those of dogs,and cats seem to fight more often than dogs.