Having just been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the ankle I have sympathy with all the animals that suffer from the same condition.
This is a condition that can be very debilitating to both the dog and the owners lives and is characterised by pain and immobility of the dog’s limbs.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterised by chronic breakdown of cartilage in the joints.
Without cartilage acting as a cushion bones rub directly against each other causing inflammation and pain.
It can be a secondary condition to conformational abnormalities such as hip dysplasia and can lead to pain at a young age,
impaired exercise tolerance, pain at any age that affects posture, or poor exercise levels that lead to obesity.
Research shows that small reductions in weight significantly improve arthritic lameness and help to achieve this loss of weight, can be obtained from the practice nurses.
The assumption that this diagnosis represents a reduction in quality of the dog’s life worry that the dog is suffering worry about the possible side effects of medication
We veterinary surgeons can help by assuring the owner that much can be done to ease the symptoms of the disease, if we work together with the owner and avoid the classic “heart sink” cases.
Patients may be presented with a range of signs such as lameness, stiffness, limping, gait abnormalities such as “bunny hopping” or “crabbing”, scuffing of the nails, excessive licking of a limb, swelling around a joint, inability to jump, go downstairs, getting in and out of the car, getting up, lying down and changes in behaviour.
While it is easy to think of these changes as part of the natural ageing process, they may actually be evidence of an underlying medical condition.
Fortunately vets now have a huge range of treatments that can improve the dog’s life and well being.
Exercise can be used in conjunction with treatments to keep the dog moving.