Like humans, dogs can also get arthritis due to old age, joint infections, traumatic injury to joints, dietary imbalance, autoimmune diseases and hormonal imbalance. Genetic factors, breed susceptibility, being overweight and lack of exercise can act as predisposing factors for arthritis.

On an average, a dog's skeletal system has 319 bones regardless of the breed type. The structure comprises of different kinds of bones and joints which undergo several changes due to environmental challenges during lifetime.

The first seven to eight months are very important in pup's life as this is the period of rapid growth and development. Proper supplementation of essential minerals like Calcium and Phosphorous is important during this period. Along with oral supplementation, proper exercise for the dog is also needed to keep the body in proper shape and to ensure a strong skeletal system.

The most common form of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

Symptoms

Favouring a particular limb

Hesitancy to jump, run or climb the stairs

Behavioural changes like prolonged sleeping

Reduction in alertness

Stiff, sore joints & lameness

Reluctance to play or work

Joint enlargement or swelling

Weight gain

Physical examination and an x-ray are required to diagnose arthritis.

Treatment:

Regular exercise

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) supplementation to reduce pain and inflammation, although with side effects.

Dietary provision of nutrients like Glucosamine, Chondritin sulfate and Hyaluronic acid salt formulations are very effective as they provide structural support

Therapy including NSAIDS , Glucosamine, Chondritin and Hyaluronic acid

Proper diet can be used as a preventive major for control of canine arthritis in older dogs.

(The author is CEO– Provimi Animal Nutrition India. He can be reached at sandeepkarkhanis@provimi.in.)

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