Arthritis is a painful malady endured by more than just humans. Dogs, especially large breeds, are susceptible to this crippling illness too. Recognizing the early signs of arthritis for dog owners may be a challenge, but this list of common symptoms and corresponding phases should help owners identify the condition. 

Early ArthritisAdvanced Joint Care Level 1

The Early Phase is the most difficult stage to identify arthritis symptoms because the signs are typically subtle and mild. The dog may feel pain, but may not show discomfort. Notice if it takes him longer to get up or climb the stairs. He may limp after exercise or have trouble jumping.

Early treatment includes weight management, a high protein and low fat diet, and nutritional supplements.



Moderate Arthritis

Advanced Joint Care Level 2

During the Moderate Stage, a dog with arthritis will exhibit having even more trouble with rising, going up stairs and show lameness after exercise. Signs of discomfort and pain become obvious as the pet is often reluctant to run, exercise, or go upstairs. The dog may even hop when going up stairs and running to ease the pain. Muscle mass in the thigh and gluteal muscles may decrease.

Treatment during this stage includes all the previous methods and sometimes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).


 

Advanced Arthritis 

Advanced Joint Support Level 3Finally, a dog with Advanced Arthritis will possess very serious and highly painful symptoms. The pet needs help in order to rise from sitting or lying down, cannot jump or climb stairs, always limps, and may have trouble urinating and defecating. Exercise is nearly impossible due to great discomfort and crippling caused by this condition. There is a severe loss in muscle mass of the thigh and gluteal muscles. Pain is obvious and the pet may even flinch or indicate discomfort when touched near the sites of arthritis.

Advanced treatment involves the same techniques as mentioned previously, but might also replace NSAIDs with cortisone.


Arthritis has serious consequences that greatly affect the quality of a dog’s life. Often the symptoms are subtle in the early stages, but will often steadily become more obvious to the dog owner and more painful to the pet during the moderate and especially the advanced phases. Early detection is crucial because often the effects of arthritis can be reversed, and arthritis progression slowed with early treatment.

Dog owners, help prevent your dog from suffering the painful symptoms of arthritis. Look for the signs!


Article Sources:
Maybeckvet.com - http://www.maybeckvet.com/arthritis.html
Animalsguru.com  http://www.animalsguru.com/dog-arthritis.html
CityPets.net - http://citypets.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/dolce_vita-heat_diagram.jpg