This Disease Affects 85% Of Dogs And It Is Easily Detectable

10/2/2017

One condition that humans and pets alike suffer from severely in winter is degenerative joint disease (DJD), or osteoarthritis. We can talk to doctors about our pain and symptoms, but pups cannot. In fact, most dogs don't enjoy showing us when they are hurt - they keep it a secret and put on a brave face to keep playing.Dr. Alison Streit wrote in The Dogington Post that 85% of her aging animal patients develop some form of arthritis as they grow older. She defines degenerative joint disease as:

Progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. Arthritis is the medical term for inflammation of the joints, while osteoarthritisis the term referring to a form of chronic joint inflammation caused by deterioration of joint cartilage.
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Source: The Bark

Here are some of the top signs to look out for to find out if your aging pup is suffering from DJD, if he refuses to show it to your himself.

1. Decreased energy

Your dog might no longer want to go for walks, or stop and turn around halfway through the walk. He will not jump up to greet you when you get home and tends to lie around more often.

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Source: Petful

2. Weight gain

Obesity is an indirect sign of arthritis which is a result of the lack of exercise and movement.

3. Limping

This usually happens just after they get up from lying down, and may only last a few seconds, so be sure to keep an eye out for an uncomfortable limp.

4. Avoiding furniture and stairs

Due to the pain, your pup will tend to avoid difficult tasks, such as climbing or jumping. Look out for the change in behavior, especially if he used to be very energetic in his younger days.

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Source: PetCareRX

Sadly, most pups will be affected by this disease at some point in their lives, so if you have not yet seen any of these symptoms, then it's a good idea to catch it early. Larger breeds are also more likely to suffer, so here is what you can do as preventative measures.

1. Maintain healthy weight

Avoiding obesity can go a long way in preventing DJD, as the added weight puts more pressure on your pup's joints and cartilage. Avoid too many treats and fatty meats, and keep your petfit and slim.

2. Consistent exercise

Depending on your dog's breed, he will need a certain amount of exercise. Make sure to do your research before walking too much or too little; but if you stick to the suggested exercise, he should have good circulation and be fit as a fiddle for a long time.

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Source: Dog Health Handbook

3. Massages

Massages can be preventative as well as offer pain relief if your pup already suffers fromDJD. They can also relieve tension and increase flexibility. Be sure to observe which areas are sensitive to the touch.

4. Natural supplements

Dr. Streit recommendsGlucosamine chondroitin sulfate as a natural joint supplement that can be given to dogs as early on as a few months old. The substance comes in treats, chew sweets, injections and sprays. Turmeric has also been proven to work for joint ability.

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Source: PetMD

Many vets recommend natural joint supplements starting at an early age for Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Daschshunds, Newfoundlands, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Mastiffs and Great Danes.Hopefully these suggestions will help you to notice subtle changes in your pet's behavior and provide some answers as to what the next steps may be. Be sure to contact your veterinarian for more information about further medical treatment for DJD or osteoarthritis.