Prevent Inflamed Joints in Dogs for Healthy Bones

Senior Dog

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases on the planet, as there are over 100 different forms of it in nearly all vertebrates. (Even the dinosaurs had it!) Although more prevalent in the elderly, animals of any age can suffer from this degenerative disorder that attacks the joints. This includes our pets. A significant number of cats and dogs are afflicted with arthritis. Because they are generally larger, dogs are more likely to be diagnosed than cats.

What is osteoarthritis?

The most common form of the condition, osteoarthritis strikes one in five dogs during their lifetime.  While older pouches are disproportionately affected, it is not at all uncommon for a younger dog to develop the disorder if he has a preexisting condition. This includes joint trauma, patella luxation, ruptured ligaments, hip dysplasia, and other issues that affect the joints and can precipitate degenerative arthritis.

Because they are heavier, large-breed dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis than small dogs. Overweight and obese dogs of any size are also at an elevated risk of the disease, since the extra weight puts added stress and strain on their joints.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Pets

Like other degenerative diseases, osteoarthritis tends to get worse with age. Dogs with the disorder suffer varying degrees of joint pain, stiffness, and lameness that is generally more severe during the early morning hours or after arising from a nap. Cold and damp weather can also exacerbate the symptoms, making it painful for your pet to perambulate.  As a result, dogs with the disease may experience behavioral changes such as increased irritability and anger. Depression is another symptom animals immobilized by arthritis may suffer from.

Causes of Osteoarthritis in Pets

The primary cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. But as we mentioned, we do know that secondary causes like trauma and birth defects can expedite joint degeneration in dogs of any age. Obesity can also exacerbate preexisting conditions, causing further complications.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in Pets

The only surefire way to diagnose the disorder is with x-rays. Your dog’s doctor will then examine the areas around the joint for bone spurs where the ligaments attach to the bone. In most cases of advanced osteoarthritis, narrowing joint space and greater bone density around the joint are apparent on x-rays.

Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Pets

There is no known cure for osteoarthritis, which is why treatment is limited to pain management. The goal is to alleviate the most uncomfortable and aggressive symptoms of the disorder, thereby improving your dog’s quality of life.  A combination of physical therapy, weight control, and certain corticosteroids and analgesics can work wonders for most pets. Not only should they relieve pain, but these treatments may also improve limb function. There is even evidence that some medications can help repair joint cartilage and prevent further injury.

Another treatment method that some dog owners swear by is acupuncture. Just as it does in human subjects, the therapy may help relieve joint stiffness and pain, at least temporarily. So if you pet doesn’t mind being poked and pressed, acupuncture is an option.

As for physical therapy, studies have shown that moderate exercise is beneficial. Regular activity helps arthritic dogs maintain muscle mass and improve joint flexibility. Extreme exercise, however, can be harmful. Running, jumping, and standing on their hind legs are activities that can easily exacerbate osteoarthritis. It is for this reason that dogs with lameness or mobility issues should only ever be exercised on a leash.

Management of Osteoarthritis in Pets

If your furry friend is overweight or obese, he really must lose weight. Being heavy further complicates any treatment plan for osteoarthritis. Not only does it intensify the symptoms, it makes it less likely that your animal will be up for exercise. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a diet plan for your dog. Take it slow and make sure your pet is getting enough to eat. But don’t let him snack in between meals and stop feeding him from the table! Keep in mind that being overweight can lead to other diseases for your pooch, including diabetes.

Painful arthritis flare-ups can often be managed with anti-inflammatory drugs. You can also use cold and heat therapy to reduce joint swelling and pain.  A heating pad on a cold days should do the trick and help reduce stiffness. There are also a number of effective supplements that are sold over the counter.

Phycox Joint Support for Dogs

A safe and natural nutritional supplement, Phycox promotes bone health and joint mobility in dogs. Available in three formulations—small bites, granules, and soft chewables—the supplement contains phycocyanin, a natural anti-inflammatory, as well as healthy antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Although it a non-prescription medication, you should consult your dog’s doctor before administering Phycox. Also be sure to select the right dosage size based on your pet’s weight. To read about other options, check out our post How to Control Arthritis Pain in Dogs.

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Like humans, dogs can have inflamed, painful joints caused by the wear and tear of daily life. Phycox’s proven joint support and inflammation/discomfort relieving supplements combines high-quality Glucosamine, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for fast acting results.

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Don’t wait! Get your discounted Phycox Soft Chews high-quality and safe joint supplement at VetRxDirect. The perfect support solution for canine joint mobility and healthy bone structure.

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A Discussion on Elbow Hygromas and Calluses in Dogs

Whether they walk on two legs or four, the larger an animal is, the more likely it is to have problems with its joints and the skin covering over the joints. Although infections, allergic reactions, and illnesses can cause joint pain, or arthralgia, the most common cause of the often chronic condition is injury. Because they are heavier and put more weight and pressure on their joints and pressure points on the skin over the joints, larger dogs generally have more joint and skin pressure point problems, especially as they age.

What are Elbow Hygromas in Dogs?

Prime candidates for the condition are big dogs with short hair. Typically caused by trauma, it is often the result of dogs repeatedly smacking their elbows on hard surfaces, such as the floor. The soft tissue of the point of the elbow, or olecranon process, will slowly begin to break down over time. Calluses often form in this area to protect the bony prominence from trauma, but it may not be enough. The inflammation caused by repeated injury can cause pockets of fluid to form around the elbows.

Veterinarians generally separate these hygromas into two categories—complicated and uncomplicated. An uncomplicated hygroma is seldom painful and can generally be resolved without immediate medical attention. More often than not, the problem is purely cosmetic and can be addressed by simply buying your dog a bed. Without the trauma -of sleeping on the floor and banging of the elbows, the hygroma should disappear within a few weeks. Special bandages and pads may shorten recovery times.

The Complicated Hygroma in Dogs

If the injury becomes infected, surgical drainage may be the only way to treat it. Distinguishing between a complicated and uncomplicated hygroma is a job best left to a veterinarian. Because both look more or less the same, a veterinarian must determine if the hygroma must be drained.  Failure to treat the infection could result in a whole host of future health issues for your canine friend.

Even More Complicated Hygroma in Dogs

In rare cases, ulcerated hygromas must be drained and the calluses covering the area may have to be removed. This occurs because chronic drainage will damage the skin and special skin flaps, even grafts may be needed to reconstruct the area in order to protect them from future infections.  This is considered major surgery, and while not especially dangerous, it will take your pouch at least a month to completely recover.  Your dog may need to wear a splint and the affected leg should be immobilized during healing.

Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs

Whether your dog was treated for complicated or uncomplicated elbow hygromas, it is often a good idea to guard these sensitive areas with a product that is specifically designed to cover and protect them from future damage during the recovery process. DogLeggs can help dogs who recently underwent draining or surgery of the joint and need a garment to provide protection and comfort without inhibiting mobility.

DogLeggs for Elbow Hygromas in Dogs

Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs Available at VetRxDirect

Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs provide coverage and protection of the elbow joint and is primarily used to treat and prevent hygromas. With proper use, DogLeggs can help reduce the size and severity of hygromas, often times without surgery.

Although these adjustable pads are designed for dogs who are dealing with elbow hygromas, they can also be used by pets that suffer from other joint issues, such as arthritis. The pads are comfortable and adjustable and fit canines of almost any size. Standard Length DogLeggs are made in sizes for three-pound Chihuahuas and others made for enormous English Mastiffs that weight up to 230 pounds.

Other Uses of Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs

DogLeggs can help prevent and treat any of the following conditions: hygroma, decubital ulcer, pressure sores, pendulous callus, wounds, elbow dysplasia, lick granuloma, and osteoarthritis. Dog owners should be sure to consult their veterinarians before they use the garment if their pet suffers from severe skin allergies, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, or has a compromised auto-immune system. The product may not be safe because it can have a slight impact on circulation, which will not harm or in any way affect otherwise healthy animals.

How to fit Standard Length DogLeggs

How to Measure Standard Length DogLeggs for Best Fit

Even though it is adjustable, the standard size DogLeggs garment will not fit pooches of every size. If your canine friend is much bigger or smaller than the average dog, you may need to order a custom size. For example, toy poodles and St. Bernards simply will not fit into common sizes.  Please note that it may take several weeks to process and ship custom sizes and they may not be eligible for refunds in the event of a return.

As a result, make sure that you measure your dog at the three points of adjustment: around the leg at the elbow, around the leg below the elbow, and over the back. Directions and pictures on how to properly measure your dog are included on the DogLeggs product page at VetRxDirect.