Studies have shown that as many as one in five dogs will develop an arthritic condition during its lifetime. While it’s natural for dogs to become less active as they get older, canine arthritis is more serious than simple aging. It is a chronic, progressive disease that will get worse if it is not properly diagnosed and treated.
In total, researchers have identified five different arthritis subtypes that affect dogs. The two most common are degenerative joint disease (a.k.a. osteoarthritis) and inflammatory joint disease. Other, less common forms include metabolic arthritis, which is caused by internal bleeding that affects joints; crystalloid arthritis, which occurs when small crystal-like deposits build up in joints; and neoplastic arthritis, which is a form of joint cancer.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
Canine arthritis primarily affects older dogs, but it’s important to remember that while rare, it can also develop in young dogs and even puppies. Here are the signs and symptoms to watch for (note: treatment options are listed after the 6 symptoms below):
Symptom: Reduced Activity and Range of Motion
Canine arthritis has a significant impact on your dog’s ability (and desire) to remain active. Dogs with arthritis often seem stiff, especially after extended periods of rest, and often have a hard time getting to their feet from a lying-down position. You may also notice that your dog doesn’t want to or can’t jump during active play, and chances are you’ll also see an overall reluctance to engage in physical activities like running or even regular walking.