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Hip Reduction Surgery in Dogs

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    What is Hip Reduction Surgery in Dogs?

    Hip Reduction is commonly used to treat hip dislocation in dogs. There are two types of reductions: closed and open. A closed hip reduction is the most common type and a more conservative treatment to physically manipulate the dislocated hip back into place. On the other hand, an open hip reduction is a surgical procedure that involves placing the joint of the hip back into its natural position. 

    What Does Hip Reduction Treat in Dogs?

    Photo Credit: Upstate Vet

    A Hip Reduction is typically used to treat hip dislocation in dogs, which is clinically referred to as coxofemoral luxation. Hip dislocation may be caused by a number of issues including hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, trauma, or even cancer. Hip dysplasia, in its genetic form or otherwise, is the most commonly observed reason behind hip dislocation and the need for a hip reduction in dogs.                                                                    

    What Happens During a Hip Reduction Surgery?

    Photo Credit: Clinician’s Brief

    The procedure for a hip reduction is dependent upon which type of approach is taken – closed or open. 

    Closed Hip Reduction

    In preparation for a closed hip reduction, the veterinarian will administer a short-acting anesthesia before physically manipulating the coxofemoral joint back into its proper place. The coxofemoral joint is defined as the “ball-and-socket” joint in which the “ball” is the head of the femur and the “socket” is the acetabulum of the pelvis. Following the manipulation, a sling, bandage, or wrap will be placed on your dog for at least two weeks. 

    Open Hip Reduction

    An open hip reduction surgery can be performed based on the preferences of the surgeon. For example, different approaches used for the procedure may include toggle rods, surgical anchors, and prosthetic joint capsules. The toggle rod approach is the most commonly performed. When this approach is used, the following steps are taken: 

    The veterinarian will begin by administering general anesthesia before cleaning and shaving the region to be operated on. Following this, an incision will be made near the hip muscles along the natural seams. The joint capsule will be opened, using a special drill a hole will be made in the acetabular wall, which is the back wall of the hip bone. Additionally, a “bone tunnel” will be drilled through a region of the femur referred to as the femoral neck. Utilizing heavy suture material, a toggle pin will be threaded through the hole and bone tunnel. The placement of the hip will be adjusted until it’s in the correct position. The heavy suture material will be tightened and attached to another toggle pin to secure on the other side of the joint. This allows for the joint to be securely held in place. Following this, the joint capsule and initial surgery site would be sutured and closed. Just like a closed hip reduction, a sling, wrap, or bandage is secured and your dog will wear it for up to fourteen days. 

    How Much Does a Hip Reduction Cost?

    The cost of a hip reduction in dogs varies based on many factors including whether a closed or open approach is taken, health factors of the dog, and the location of the clinic. The cost may range from $1,500 to $15,000, however, the average cost of the procedure is $2,500. 

    How Can Hip Reduction Surgery Be Prevented?

    Unfortunately, many conditions that lead to the need for a hip reduction cannot be prevented such as genetic hip dysplasia and cancer. However, automobile accidents are a common cause of hip dislocation as well so be sure to keep a close eye on your dog when outdoors. Avoid overfeeding and maintain a healthy weight in your dog to avoid hip dysplasia in large breed dogs. 

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    Canine Total Hip Replacement Surgery

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      ​​What is Total Hip Replacement Surgery in Dogs?

      x ray of dog before and after total hip replacement
      Photo Credit: Animal Surgical and Orthopedic Center

      A total hip replacement (THR) in dogs is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a severely damaged or diseased hip joint with an artificial component. Total hip replacement is a surgical treatment for treating severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations. THR is widely regarded as safe and effective, with a high likelihood of significantly increasing limb function and enhancing their quality of life.

      What Makes a Dog A Good Candidate For Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

      Dogs who are suffering from severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations that cannot be resolved aside from THR and are in a measurable amount of pain are usually those that received a THR. Dogs need to be in overall good health as well as have no other joint or bone issues, nerve damage/disease, or other medical illnesses. Dogs who receive THR need to be skeletally mature and finished growing which is usually between 9-12 months old. X-rays will also reveal if the size of the bones can fit a prosthesis. THR surgery is usually done on dogs over 40 pounds.

      Are There Any Risks With Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

      husky recovering from total hip replacement surgery
      Photo Credit: UC Davis

      Any type of anesthetic or operation comes with its own set of hazards. These dangers will be discussed with you by your veterinarian or orthopedic surgeon. In dogs, the reported complication rate after total hip replacement is between 7% and 12%. It is crucial to identify and treat issues as soon as possible after a complete hip replacement. Swelling at the incision site (seroma) or a low-grade infection of the skin around the incision are examples of mild complications. However, there are three significant problems that might result in the hip replacement failing and requiring further surgery.

      Impact Infection

      As with any infection, an infection of the impact is something that should be taken very seriously. While skin or wound infections may be able to be controlled with antibiotics, infections of the actual implants require the implant being removed and replaced.

      Implant Loosening

      There’s a possibility of the implants losing due to either “aspect loosening” or low-grade infection. Aspect loosening is when the patient’s body rejects the implant and occurs in about 5-15% of cases. If aspect loosening occurs, the implant needs to be removed and/or replaced. 

      Luxation or Dislocation of the Implants

      Luxation or dislocation of the implants is fairly rare is occurs in only about 2-4% of patients and usually within the first 3 weeks post-surgery. If this happens, another surgery under anesthesia will be required to fix it.

      What Happens During Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

      Vets performing total hip replacement on a dog
      Photo Credit: Fitzpatrick Referrals

      THR surgery for severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations surgery is a multi-day process. To prepare for general anesthesia, most dogs getting a complete hip replacement will have a comprehensive examination and a blood test profile. 

      Total hip replacement surgery takes two to three hours on average, and your dog may need to stay in the hospital for one to three days afterward. A 12-week recuperation time is expected. Even though your dog’s hip dysplasia affects both hips, surgery on one hip at a time is possible, providing 3 to 6 months of healing time in between procedures.

      During the actual surgery, the ball (head of the femur) and socket (acetabulum) are removed and replaced with prosthetic implants. The acetabular socket will be rebuilt and equipped with a polyethylene cup, while the stem and ball are constructed of cobalt-chromium. Bone cement may or may not be used to hold the implants in place, depending on the implant type chosen by the surgeon for your pet.

      Around 90% to 95% of dogs that receive a complete hip replacement perform really well and have outstanding function. Every operation has some risk, but your dog’s surgeon will do all in his power to avoid any complications. Hip dislocation, implant loosening, infection, and nerve injury are all rare problems that can typically be easily addressed.

      How Do You Care for a Dog Post-Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

      dog on a walk after total hip replacement surgery
      Photo Credit: A Veterinarian's Perspective

      When dogs are released from the hospital a few days after having total hip replacement surgery, it’s crucial to ensure proper healing. Stitches or staples will usually be removed in 10-14 days following surgery. Your veterinarian will also provide a pain management regimen which might include pain medication and crate rest or confined to a small area during recovery for about 3 months. While dogs are usually able to bear weight on the limb fairly soon after surgery, their activity must be closely monitored and activity limited to being on a leash when not in confinement to prevent over-exertion. Each veterinarian will provide their own post-op instructions and they should be followed as closely as possible for best results.

      How Much Does Total Hip Replacement Surgery Cost?

      Due to the involvement and difficulty of canine total hip replacement surgery, it comes out to being one of the most expensive veterinary surgeries. It comes out on average to being $3,500 to $7,000 per hip or if both hips need to be replaced (which is often the case), the cost runs on average $7,000 to $14,000. This is an instance when having pet insurance can offset the high cost.

      How Can Total Hip Replacement Surgery Be Prevented?

      Preventing total hip replacements comes with preventing the reason for needing the surgery. So essentially working to prevent hip dysplasia and severe arthritis. One way to stay on top of the causes that result in THR is having regularly scheduled vet appointments.

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      How to Prevent Arthritis In Dogs

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        What is Arthritis in Dogs?

        Arthritis (also known as Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease) is a common condition for aging dogs but also not unheard of for younger dogs. At any given moment, it affects about a quarter of a million canines globally. It is a progressive, chronic joint disorder characterized by joint cartilage deterioration, joint capsule thickness, and the formation of the new bone surrounding the joint (osteophytosis), all of which contribute to pain and limb impairment. 

        What Causes Arthritis in Dogs?

        senior dog with arthritis laying in the grass

        To better prevent arthritis in dogs, it’s important to understand what actually causes it and to start there. Arthritis in dogs is caused mostly by developing orthopedic illnesses such as cranial cruciate ligament disease, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, OCD, and patella (knee cap) dislocation. Arthritis occurs in a tiny percentage of dogs for no obvious cause and is connected to heredity and age. Arthritis  can also be caused by a variety of factors, including:

        • Breeds that are large or giant
        • Genetics
        • Age
        • Athletic activities that cause repetitive stress
        • Prior hip or elbow dysplasia diagnosis
        • Infections that cause joint pain, such as Lyme Disease
        • Inadequate nutrition
        • Fractures and ligament rips are examples of injuries

         

        Why is Early Awareness of Arthritis Important?

        Arthritis is difficult to identify in its early stages, despite the fact that it is common and painful. Treatment options often focus on relieving pain and delaying the disease’s progression. The first and most crucial step to prevent arthritis in dogs is just being aware of its prevalence and keeping joint health and prospective joint issues at the forefront of one’s thoughts. 

        How Can You Prevent Arthritis in Dogs?

        Early intervention for your dog’s joints, muscles, and hips is recommended. Early management may assist to decrease the progression of degenerative arthritis. In the first half of your dog’s life, make sure he gets the necessary nutrition and gets enough of activity, which will keep his body healthy and help him maintain a healthy weight. Keep reading to learn more about the ways to try and prevent arthritis in your dog:

        Weight Management 

        Obesity is one of the top ways that causes arthritis in dogs and keeping dogs a healthy weight throughout their life can delay or halt the progression of arthritis. Dogs who are already prone to arthritis such as their breed, size or other genetic defects would greatly benefit from being kept at a healthy weight. If you’re not sure what size your dog is supposed to be, you can check the AKC breed size chart (remember: not all dogs of the same breed are the same, their weight can still vary). If you are worried that your dog is overweight, you can put them on a diet dog food and exercise regimen which your veterinarian can help regulate.

        overweight dog with arthritis

        Supplements

        Dogs don’t need to be showing joint pain or problems to be put on joint supplements. If you’re not sure what kind of supplement would be helpful, here’s a bit of information on the most common types of supplements for dogs to help with joint pain and arthritis:

        Glucosamine

        The most frequent sort of supplement for joint issues in dogs is glucosamine. It is a naturally occurring substance in both human and animal bodies, however the supplement aids in cartilage health maintenance. It alleviates pain and stiffness in arthritic joints by lowering inflammation, preventing cartilage loss, and enhancing cartilage regeneration.

        Chondroitin

        Chondroitin, which is frequently combined with glucosamine, increases water retention and suppleness in cartilage. It can be taken on its own, with the same dose as glucosamine.

        Green Lipped Mussel

        Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) is a supplement derived from a New Zealand mussel. There isn’t much information about GLM, although it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and joint-protective qualities.

        Hyaluronic Acid

        Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of sugar. It is a key component of synovial fluid, which serves to maintain joint viscosity, lubrication, and stress absorption in joints.

        Vitamins C and E

        Antioxidant vitamins C and E help dogs move about more readily by destroying free radicals.

        Acetylated Glucosamine

        Acetylated glucosamine can help with joint structure and function.

        Manganese

        Manganese is an essential nutrient because it is involved in a variety of chemical processes in the body, including bone formation. Manganese is required in joints to preserve bone, cartilage, and collagen. Manganese is a component of cartilage that is required for chondrocyte survival.

        The Correct Exercise

        Make sure your dog is active and receives lots of exercise to help prevent arthritis in dogs. Too much exercise can also be just as dangerous as it can expose them to overexertion damage. It is critical not to over-exercise your dog or expose them to overexertion damage. “Leaping” activities that involve dogs lepaing into the air like throwing frisbees up high for dogs to jump up and catch can create uneven weight loads and distribution on their joints. Examples of exercise that don’t put strain on the joints include water-based exercises like swimming and hydrotherapy. Nonetheless, appropriate activity and exercise promotes a healthy weight and good muscular growth to support joints. Both a healthy weight and muscle mass in your dog help to prevent joint degradation, which can lead to arthritis. Make certain that your dog does not strain his joints or injure himself when exercising.

        Have Regular Vet Visits

        Dogs who are more likely to develop arthritis should have their joints checked regularly by your primary care veterinarian. You can ask your vet to x-ray your dog at around 2 years old to see if there any indications of arthritis developing. Request x-rays of your dog’s spine, hips, and stifles whenever your pet is sedated for a treatment later in life, such as a dental cleaning, so you can keep track of their improvement.

        The goal of getting the hips x-rayed at two years is to see if hip dysplasia has developed. In general, if a dog is above the age of two and has not been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, they are unlikely to develop it. However, hip dysplasia can develop later in life as a result of hereditary causes, severe injury, a lack of muscular strength, or overloading the joint with too much weight. Keeping track of your dog’s baseline using x-rays allows you to watch their progress and make any necessary changes to supplements, nutrition, or other factors to aid your dog.

         

        Overall, prevention is a key factor in helping your dog with arthritis. Many dogs are predisposed but preventative measures can help slow the progression or even halt it. If you are concerned that your dog may have arthritis, please visit your primary care veterinarian or find an orthopedic veterinary specialist near you.

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        Overcoming Obesity and Osteoarthritis in Dogs

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          How is Osteoarthritis Related to Obesity in Dogs?

          Because of their extremely distinct causes, osteoarthritis (OA) and obesity create diagnostic difficulties that are very difficult to overcome. In the early stages of OA, there are frequently no clear clinical symptoms. Overweight and obesity symptoms may be obvious, yet they are often ignored or disregarded as unimportant. In order to initiate diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative efforts that may otherwise be lost, obesity must be diagnosed.

          Obesity in dogs significantly increases the risk of joint pain and damage in dogs thus leading to OA. Dogs who are either overweight or obese for a significant amount of time have traumatized their joints before any clinical signs of OA appear. The damage of OA takes years to even show up in diagnostic x-rays due to joint degradation.

          While it’s always been believed that the OA formed from obesity was due to joint wear and tear, that’s recently been disproven. It is now believed that the fat tissue is physiologically active, secreting hormones and other substances that both cause and exacerbate inflammation, as we now know.

          When fat cells release the hormone leptin, it infiltrates joints and promotes inflammation. Leptin may also play a role in the bone alterations linked with OA. Finally, inflammation can alter the body’s reactions to other hormones like cortisol and insulin, further disrupting the body’s attempts at self-regulation and affecting the amount and severity of pain dogs experience. The key takeaway is that fat causes inflammation, inflammation is a component of the pain associated with OA and degenerative joint disease, and being overweight or obese adds to the vicious cycle.

          What is Osteoarthritis?

          Canine Osteoarthritis affects both dogs and humans alike and is the most common form of arthritis affecting nearly a quarter of a million dogs worldwide at any given time. It is a progressive, chronic joint condition marked by the weakening of joint cartilage, thickening of the joint capsule, and the forming of new bone around the joint (osteophytosis), both of which contribute to pain and limb dysfunction. 

          What are the Signs of Osteoarthritis in Dogs?

          Osteoarthritis can often be undetectable until it becomes severe. It’s important to know what to look for in OA, especially if your dog is prone to it. This includes overweight dogs and elderly dogs. Signs of OA in dogs include:

          • Irritability
          • Lethargy
          • Stiffness, lameness or limping
          • Reluctance or difficulty standing 
          • Weight gain
          • Pain when touched
          • incontinence.

          Your vet should be contacted if you think your dog is suffering from OA to start the next steps.

          Photo Credit: Adequan® Canine

          What are the Stages of Osteoarthritis?

          Osteoarthritis presents itself in four different stages. 

          Stage 1: The affected dog exhibits early symptoms which may be difficult to recognize. They are most prevalent in puppies who are still developing or young adults, and are often intermittent, lasting only a few seconds or minutes. 

          Stage 2: The affected dog continues to have intermittent symptoms which are termed the initial flare-ups.These warnings are sporadic, lasting only a few hours, and are simple for owners to reason and ignore. This stage is most common in puppies and young adult dogs.

          Stage 3: The third stage consists of performance impairment in the affected dog. It’s easier for the owner to recognize this stage, which is marked by exercise intolerance and increasing loss of capacity to execute activities of daily living. This is a common stage in the development of adult dogs. 

          Stage 4: The affected dog experiences significant loss of mobility, strength and fitness. This state is the most difficult stage for the parent of the affected dog.

          How is Obesity in Dogs Defined and Diagnosed?

          Age, breed, neuter status, and whether dogs eat wet, homemade, or canned food as the main nutrition source, and “other” foods such as snacks or table scraps are all risk factors for obesity in dogs. At 9 to 12 months, dogs that were overweight were 1.5 times more likely to become obese adults. In the overweight and obese canine population, Golden retrievers, Rottweilers, pugs, and Labrador retrievers that are over-represented. Weight management should be taught to owners of dogs at risk for obesity and OA.

          About 56 percent of dogs were clinically overweight or obese in 2018, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). In one long-term research study, overweight or obese dogs had a higher prevalence of OA than ideal-weight canines (83% compared to 50% ). Due to the results of this study, we may safely assume that many arthritic pets are overweight or obese, and vice versa. It’s not easy to manage these comorbid conditions.

          Body weight and body condition score (BCS) are recorded at every examination as the first step in diagnosing overweight/obesity. The animal’s weight is not determined just by its body weight. This is a subjective assessment of an animal’s body fat that considers the animal’s frame size in addition to its weight, putting body weight in perspective for each patient’s frame size and weight.  

          If you are unsure if your dog is overweight or obese, you can check with a pet weight calculator or consult with your veterinarian.

          Photo Credit: Unknown

          What Are The Signs of Obesity in Dogs?

          It should be fairly simple to notice if your dog is gaining weight but it could be harder in certain breeds, especially those who have a lot of fur. We can often start to see a dog gaining weight in their waistline or tuck. These are the common signs of obesity in dogs:

          • Waistline, ribs or spine not being visible anymore
          • Sagging
          • Lethargy
          • Reluctance to go for walks or walking slower
          • Unable to get in and out of cars or off tall surfaces
          • Larger, rounder face

          What are the Risk Factors Associated with Obesity and Osteoarthritis?

          Osteoarthritis in dogs can be caused by age, breed, genetics, developmental orthopedic illness, trauma, and obesity, among others. In golden retrievers and Rottweilers, radiographic incidence of canine hip dysplasia, a primary cause of OA, has been recorded as high as 70%. Environmental variables such as nutrition and lifestyle can have a major impact on the prevalence and severity of OA related to canine hip dysplasia.

          An obese dog is more likely to have cruciate ligament rupture, the most prevalent cause of OA in canines. Fat dogs are more likely to suffer a torn cruciate ligament than normal-weight dogs by a factor of 2 to 3. 

          As a result of lameness, overweight cats were three times more likely than optimal-weight cats to be brought to a veterinary facility. As a result of their obesity, obese cats were five times more likely to develop lameness, which required medical attention. 

          Obesity is the only risk factor for OA that can be controlled.

          What is the Treatment for Obesity in Dogs?

          For many pet owners, understanding the link between maintaining an ideal weight for their pet and reducing their pet’s risk of sickness may be a powerful incentive. The benefits of keeping a healthy weight are abundant and obvious. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential. As a result of the author’s observations, a high BCS is likely to have an adverse effect on a pet’s susceptibility for OA and the severity of the condition. Weight loss should be a primary treatment for overweight dogs with OA, rather than a secondary one. 

          Dogs have similar amounts of physical activity as their human owners. As an alternative to food rewards, owners should try to react with playtime or praise as a form of positive reinforcement. Exercise should be introduced to all overweight or obese individuals as soon as possible. Establishing an on-site obesity treatment center can assist in establishing individualized patient programs and promoting owner compliance with them.

          Photo Credit: RyanJLane/Getty Images

          What is the Treatment for Osteoarthritis in Dogs?

          Physical Therapy

          Unfortunately, the damage caused by OA is irreversible but treatment plans help reduce pain and improve quality of life. Certain treatments can be done at home such as helping your dog lose weight if they are overweight and keeping up with low impact exercises such as short walks. Your veterinarian may suggest regular appointments with a rehabilitation center (link to centers near you). Acupuncture, hydrotherapy, chiropractic, laser therapy, regenerative medicine, and medicinal massage are other alternative treatments that require seeing a specialist but luckily these options have become more common and are more available in most areas! 

          Supplements

          On top of the treatment plan given by your vet, certain supplements may assist in the lessening of pain in your dogs. If your dog is predisposed to arthritis such as their breed or weight, your vet may suggest starting supplements before the onset of canine OA. Here are the top type of supplements to look for:

          • Glucosamine is the most common type of supplement for joint problems in dogs. It’s a naturally occurring compound in both human and animal’s bodies but the supplement helps keep up with cartilage health. It reduces pain and stiffness in arthritic joints by reducing inflammation, inhibiting cartilage loss, and improving cartilage repair.
          • Chondroitin is often given in combination with glucosamine and promotes water retention and elasticity in cartilage. It can be given by itself in which the dosing is the same as glucosamine. 
          • Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) is a supplement taken from a mussel native to New Zealand. There isn’t too much information on GLM but omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and joint-protecting properties, are found in it. 
          • Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of sugar. It is a major component of synovial fluid, which helps to maintain joint viscosity, maintain joint lubrication, and absorb stress in joints. 
          • Antioxidant vitamins C and E destroy free radicals, they help dogs move around more easily! 
          • Glucosamine Acetylated can be for good joint structure and function.
          • Manganese is a vital nutrient, manganese is involved in various chemical reactions in the body, including the production of bones. To maintain bone and cartilage as well as collagen, manganese is essential in joints. Manganese is an essential component of cartilage and is essential for chondrocyte survival.

          Nutrition

          Nutrition has a role in controlling joint disease, just as it does with many other diseases. Nutrients can influence some of the underlying processes in arthritis. These include regulation of inflammation and cartilage repair, as well as antioxidant protection. A healthy diet can minimize or eliminate the need for traditional medicines, some of which have harmful side effects. Certain nutrients, whether supplied independently or as part of a diet focused at controlling OA, must be understood by veterinary nurses.

          How Do You Overcome Obesity and Arthritis in Dogs?

          Exercise and food are the two most important variables in avoiding and fighting obesity. Have a conversation with your veterinarian about changing your dog’s diet and exercise if you haven’t done so previously. Your pet’s exercise routine and food should be tailored to his or her lifestyle and life stage. Exercising modestly while consuming fewer calories is suggested for pets who are already overweight or obese and trying to lose weight.

          There are also specialized diet foods for dogs which are made up of the appropriate nutrients and caloric levels for losing weight. A diet for your dog shouldn’t consist of just feeding them less of their normal food as they are missing out on certain nutrients. There are even diet dog foods that assist in reducing the inflammation of the joints that can be brought on by obesity. By assisting with the joint inflammation during the weight loss journey will make exercising easier on your dog. 

          In the end, working on your pet’s weight and their battle with arthritis shouldn’t be difficult and is also 100% preventable in most standard cases of obese dogs. The only times this may not be preventable may be due to a condition like thyroid disease in which dog’s should be on medication to help control their weight. 

          If you believe your dog should be on a diet, confirm with your veterinarian that they should lose weight and to work on a treatment plan with them in a way to effectively and safely help them lose weight. 

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          How To Help My Dog With Canine Osteoarthritis?

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            What is Canine Osteoarthritis? 

            To better help canine osteoarthritis, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. Canine Osteoarthritis affects both dogs and humans alike and is the most common form of arthritis affecting nearly a quarter of a million dogs worldwide at any given time. It is a progressive, chronic joint condition marked by the weakening of joint cartilage, thickening of the joint capsule, and the forming of new bone around the joint (osteophytosis), both of which contribute to pain and limb dysfunction. 

            What Causes Osteoarthritis in Dogs?

            The majority of canine Osteoarthritis in dogs is caused by developmental orthopedic diseases including cranial cruciate ligament disease, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, OCD, and patella (knee cap) dislocation. In a small percentage of dogs, OA develops for no apparent reason and is linked to genetics and age. There are multiple possible causes of canine Osteoarthritis in dogs:

            • Large or giant breeds
            • Genetics
            • Obesity
            • Age, usually middle-age to senior dogs
            • Repetitive stress from athletic activities 
            • Poor conformation
            • Prior diagnosis of hip or elbow dysplasia 
            • Infections that affect the joints, such as Lyme Disease
            • Improper nutrition
            • Injuries such as fractures or ligament tears 

            What are the Signs of Osteoarthritis in Dogs?

            Osteoarthritis can often be undetectable until it becomes severe. It’s important to know what to look for in osteoarthritis, especially if your dog is prone to it. This includes overweight dogs and elderly dogs. Signs of osteoarthritis in dogs include:

            • Irritability
            • Lethargy
            • Stiffness, lameness, or limping
            • Reluctance or difficulty standing 
            • Weight gain
            • Pain when touched
            • incontinence.

            Your vet should be contacted if you think your dog is suffering from osteoarthritis to start the next steps.

            What are the Stages of Osteoarthritis?

            Osteoarthritis presents itself in four different stages. 

            Stage 1: The affected dog exhibits early symptoms which may be difficult to recognize. They are most prevalent in puppies who are still developing or young adults, and are often intermittent, lasting only a few seconds or minutes. 

            Stage 2: The affected dog continues to have intermittent symptoms which are termed the initial flare-ups.These warnings are sporadic, lasting only a few hours, and are simple for owners to reason and ignore. This stage is most common in puppies and young adult dogs.

            Stage 3: The third stage consists of performance impairment in the affected dog. It’s easier for the owner to recognize this stage, which is marked by exercise intolerance and increasing loss of capacity to execute activities of daily living. This is a common stage in the development of adult dogs. 

            Stage 4: The affected dog experiences significant loss of mobility, strength, and fitness. This state is the most difficult stage for the parent of the affected dog.

            Dogs can be in any of these stages, even if they are young or elderly. Osteoarthritis in dogs is often detected in the third or fourth stage. Ideally, veterinary teams should be aware of and able to detect osteoarthritis symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

            Is Osteoarthritis in Dogs Treatable?

            Unfortunately, the damage caused by OA is irreversible but treatment plans help reduce pain and improve quality of life. Certain treatments can be done at home such as helping your dog lose weight if they are overweight and keeping up with low impact exercises such as short walks. 

            Physical Therapy

            Your veterinarian may suggest regular appointments with a rehabilitation center or specialist. Acupuncture, hydrotherapy, chiropractic, laser therapy, regenerative medicine, and medicinal massage are other alternative treatments that require seeing a specialist but luckily these options have become more common and are more available in most areas!

            Yellow Labrador in a hydrotherapy machine at physical therapy

            Supplements

            On top of the treatment plan given by your vet, certain supplements may assist in the lessening of pain in your dogs. If your dog is predisposed to arthritis such as their breed or weight, your vet may suggest starting supplements before the onset of canine Osteoarthritis. Here are the top type of supplements to look for:

            • Glucosamine is the most common type of supplement for joint problems in dogs. It’s a naturally occurring compound in both human and animal bodies but the supplement helps keep up with cartilage health. It reduces pain and stiffness in arthritic joints by reducing inflammation, inhibiting cartilage loss, and improving cartilage repair.
              • Chondroitin is often given in combination with glucosamine and promotes water retention and elasticity in cartilage. It can be given by itself in which the dosing is the same as glucosamine. 
              • Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) is a supplement taken from a mussel native to New Zealand. There isn’t too much information on GLM but omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and joint-protecting properties, are found in it. 
              • Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of sugar. It is a major component of synovial fluid, which helps to maintain joint viscosity, maintain joint lubrication, and absorb stress in joints. 
              • Antioxidant vitamins C and E destroy free radicals, they help dogs move around more easily! 
              • Glucosamine Acetylated can be for good joint structure and function.
              • Manganese is a vital nutrient, manganese is involved in various chemical reactions in the body, including the production of bones. To maintain bone and cartilage as well as collagen, manganese is essential in joints. Manganese is an essential component of cartilage and is essential for chondrocyte survival.

            Nutrition

            Nutrition has a role in controlling joint disease, just as it does with many other diseases. Nutrients can influence some of the underlying processes in arthritis. These include regulation of inflammation and cartilage repair, as well as antioxidant protection. A healthy diet can minimize or eliminate the need for traditional medicines, some of which have harmful side effects. Certain nutrients, whether supplied independently or as part of a diet focused on controlling osteoarthritis, must be understood by veterinary nurses.

            Yellow lab receiving a supplement

            CBD

            Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has become quite the thing for helping humans and pets alike with different ailments including anxiety and pain. A study that was published in the journal PAIN looked at whether various doses and formulations of CBD could benefit dogs with osteoarthritis, and the findings indicated that it could. The researchers at Bayer School of Medicine worked with the CBD brand Medterra on a 4 week study that included 20 large dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The group of dogs who took higher doses of CBD or used CBD in a liposomal formulation saw significant improvement in their mobility and quality of life. The mobility and quality of life of the dogs who received larger doses of CBD or CBD in a liposomal formulation improved significantly.

            Is Osteoarthritis in Dogs Preventable?

            Short answer: yes. Long answer: Because canine osteoarthritis cannot be treated entirely, prevention and early intervention are essential. Osteoarthritis may be prevented by helping your dog maintain a healthy weight from the time he is a puppy. Choose a breeder who checks both parent dogs for developing orthopedic issues like hip dysplasia if you decide to obtain a puppy through that route.

            We do not make any health claims about CBD products. Before taking any CBD product, we do advise that you consult with your physician or medical doctor.
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