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What are the Signs my Dog May be Experiencing Joint Issues?

What are the Signs my Dog May be Experiencing Joint Issues?

Joint issues are very common in dogs

Unfortunately, joint issues in dogs are very common. Osteoarthritis and arthritis are very often what are causing the joint issues, although osteoarthritis can be a secondary condition i.e. caused by the primary condition, such as hip dysplasia.

The joints that usually have issues are the hips, elbows and spine. However issues can occur in any joint.

If you see your dog is:

  • Finding it difficult to get up from sitting or down from standing
  • Stiff e.g. struggling to rise from a lying position, or not being able to lie down easily. Stiffness may seem worse after a walk or a rest.
  • Limping or Lame. This might be obvious or it could be more subtle and express itself as slight unevenness of gait. You might also notice your dog’s posture becomes more ‘slouch’ when sitting
  • Running or walking differently. There’s a change in their gait.
  • Avoiding Jumping off Furniture - Arthritic dogs may avoid activities that used to be easy for them, such as jumping in and out of the car, or going up and down stairs. This is because they don’t want to do anything that requires them to put extra stress on their joints. 
  • Disliking being touched on some parts of the body and showing pain or discomfort if they are.
  • Losing stamina, taking longer on walks, or wanting to stop earlier than normal
  • Behaving differently, perhaps being uncharacteristically aggressive towards other dogs or humans 
  • A narrowing of hips or hindquarters. This is because back leg muscles are weakening as they adapt how they change to minimise load on the affected joint
  • Sleeping far more than usual or seeming uncharacteristically lethargic
  • Licking repeatedly at a particular joint, until the fur is saliva stained.
  • Joints that are swollen, enlarge, and that might be hot to the touch
  • Audible clicking or grinding of joints when your dog’s getting up or lying down, walking, or running

These are all signs of joint problems and merit a visit to the vet for further investigation and diagnosis. This is particularly the case because it’s highly likely that your dog’s in considerable pain and so finding a pain-relief regime will make a huge difference to your dog’s quality of life. If the joint issues are because of osteoarthritis be aware that it’s a progressive condition. The sooner you can start managing it, the better.

Read more about joint issues here

Read more about your dog’s joints - Causes, Prevention and How to Help 

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