Spinal arthritis in dogs is one of the most common forms of arthritis. Usually seen in older dogs and less common in humans since we walk upright. Arthritis in general causes inflammation of joints and in this case the vertebrae. It causes pain and stiffness which progresses as your dog gets older.
What causes spinal arthritis in dogs?
As a dog gets older their spine weakens due to normal wear and tear. This is the case in any joint. Arthritis can be genetic and passed on from generation to generation. It can be seen in young dogs but is not common.
Common signs of spinal arthritis in dogs
- Difficulty using the stairs
- Crying or moaning when moving
- Difficulty standing, sitting and laying down
- Moves slowly or lethargic
- Altered gait when standing or walking
- Stumbles when trying to move
- Excessive licking of joints
How to help your dog's arthritis
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) - different medications classified as NSAIDs can be given to reduce inflammation and pain.
Food - Feeding your dog quality food will help give them the vitamins and minerals to keep their joints healthy. Foods that have eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid are good because they help to reduce inflammation.
Acupuncture - Alternative veterinary practitioners can administer acupuncture to your dog which may help to alleviate pain and increase mobility. Gold bead implantation is a type of acupuncture where a gold bead is implanted permanently at the pressure point. However, there is controversy as to its effectiveness and safety. Speak with your vet and also do your own due diligence to decide for yourself if you believe this is right for your dog.
Physical therapy - Your dog can have physical rehabilitation from a center specifically for animals. However, large physical rehabilitation centers for humans often work on animals. Types of therapy include underwater treadmills, ultrasound therapy and electrical stimulation. The same techniques used on humans are used on canines which include cold and heat, massage, stretching and range of motion exercises. Canine physical therapy can relieve pain and promote cartilage, tendon and ligament health.
Exercise - Besides physical therapy, exercise in general is good for your dog and helps to keep their weight down. Two to three short walks per day is enough. If your dog likes to swim this is the least impact on the joints.
Natural supplements - Dog Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSN and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) an omega-3 fatty acid are great supplements to reduce inflammation. Turmeric which is derived from a plant can also help with inflammation. Chinese herbs may be recommended from alternative veterinary practitioners if your dog is having acupuncture. They can work together to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Joint fluid modifiers - Hyaluronic Acid and Adequan are injections that help joints and are great for spinal arthritis in dogs. Hyaluronic acid helps stimulate production of joint fluid, decrease cartilage damage and decrease inflammation. Adequan helps to inhibit cartilage loss in a dog's joints.
Laser therapy - Also called Cold Laser, Low-Level Laser or Class 4 Laser Therapy. Laser therapy for dogs stimulates cell regeneration and increases blood circulation. It increases ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which helps to reduce inflammation and decrease pain.
Mobility Assistance - Proper back support is important with spinal arthritis. Your dog may have arthritis in other parts of their body which will make it even harder for them to maintain stability and be mobile. A dog wheelchair will help to relieve some of the pressure and stress on your dog's back and joints. It will assist them in getting the exercise that they need. Keep your dog active to live a happier and healthier life!
About The Author
Performance Dog Wheelchairs wants you to know that physical limitations are not the end to mobility. Our purpose is to give others and their dogs the ability to seek new adventures and overcome physical challenges with one of our dog wheelchairs. We have small dog wheelchairs and large dog wheelchairs.
We offer a full support dog wheelchair which is also referred to as a dog quad wheelchair or four wheel dog wheelchair, a dog wheelchair for back legs and the patented SitGo Dog Wheelchair. This is the only one that allows your dog to go from standing to sitting without having to remove it.