Chronic joint disorders occur in all types of dogs. Although some breeds and especially larger dogs are more sensitive to this, age, exercise and (over) weight also play a role. Joint disorders cause constant (chronic) and often severe pain and must always be taken seriously. Treatment can quickly worsen without treatment. It is precisely for this reason that it is important for you as an owner to immediately recognize the first signs of pain.
Unfortunately, a dog can not tell if and where he is hurting. As an owner, we will therefore have to pay attention to other signs. We must realize that pain is a warning signal from the body to prevent any further damage. We distinguish between two types of pain, acute pain at a certain location and chronic and often slowly rising pain.
Acute pain is fairly easy to recognize in a dog. The animal will retreat, squeak, whine, scream or even show aggression when touched. This is a reflex on intense pain. The dog can not do anything about this.
Chronic pain is more difficult. Because it often comes in gradually, the dog gets the time to get used to it without the aforementioned reflex. This does not alter the fact that the dog can have a lot of problems. However, he will express this in a different way.
In the dog we also know differences in pain threshold. That means that there is a difference in when it is still a bit bearable for the dog and when not anymore. This can be different for every dog, just as for every person. This situation may also be dependent. For example, a dog may refuse to sit on command if it does so, while it does hurt its pain to run after a ball. In the second case, the ball is more important than the pain and in the first case the opposite applies.
However, if we look at normal house situations, there are a number of things you can look out for:
– The dog can move differently: he walks stiffer or even crippled.
– He has difficulty getting up (so-called ‘start pain’) or does not even want to go outside anymore.
– He no longer wants to play so exuberantly, runs no more stairs or no longer jumps at you (if that was allowed by you at first).
– He follows commands like sitting and is not or no longer so easy.
– He stays longer in place when something happens (out or with a ringing doorbell).
– Aggression when you stroke or touch it in “sore” places.
– Polar bears or constantly licking or chewing to make your own body painkillers.
The most common joint disease in the dog is the so-called osteoarthritis, also known as osteoarthritis. It is a chronic inflammation of the joint where eventually the cartilage and the underlying bone can become damaged. The joints lose their suppleness, pain develops and the dog moves stifferly and stiffly. In principle, osteoarthritis can occur in all joints, we see this most in the hips, knees, elbows and spine. The causes can be very different:
– acute infections
– growth disorders
– wrong power
– or a hereditary condition
In older dogs, osteoarthritis usually develops as a result of wear and tear. Obesity and lack of exercise are also important risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis.