Diseases Diseases

What Are Diseases Of Dog Joints?


Dogs are prone to a number of detrimental joint diseases. These diseases of the dog include degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia, torn knee ligaments, temporomandibular joint disorders, and joint cartilage erosion. Each of these diseases of dog has a range of causes, symptoms, and treatments.


The first of the diseases of the dog is degenerative joint disease (DJD), or Osteoarthritis. This is a chronic inflammation of the dogs joints caused by the deterioration of joint cartilage. Their are no known causes at this present time for primary DJD but there are some contributing factors for the development of secondary DJD. These are trauma, abnormal wear on joints and cartilage, or a congenital defect present at birth, abnormal development of the hip or elbow, dislocation of the kneecap or shoulder, and osteochondritis dissecans, and Obesity( the added weight increases pressure on the joints). This diseases of your dog will causes he/she to develop a decreased level of activity, occasional lameness, and a stiff gait.

These symptoms will become apparent via exercise, and can become worse through lengthy durations of inactivity, or cold weather. The treatments of this type of dogs diseases is set to control the symptoms not cure it.  Surgery in the form of reconstructive procedures, joint removal or replacement, or surgical removal of bone, cartilage or a joint  is a viable option, and can alleviate symptoms and slow the diseases progression. Physical therapy is a less drastic step a dog owner could take when faced with this dogs diseases. It is aimed to maintain or increase joint motion and is performed via daily exercise,  swimming, and massage. Pain can be decreased with the application of heat (heat pads). Anti-inflammatory drugs, is another route a dog owner could take, it is designed to reduce joint swelling and pain. 


The next of the diseases of your dog is Hip Dysplasia, this is the failure for hip joints to develop normally leading to deterioration and loss of function of the hip joints. This disease is caused by both environmental factors and genetics. Some breeds of dogs are more prone to developing this joint disease, these include the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Labrador Retriever, and German Shepherd. The manifestation of this disease is usually when the dog is young and physically immature, typically around four months of age. However,development of hip dysplasia in older dogs is also possible due to  osteoarthritis, Rapid weight gain and obesity, and Nutritional factors. The symptoms for this particular diseases of a dog are as follows, 

  • joint looseness or laxity
  • joint degeneration and osteoarthritis
  • Decreased activity
  • Difficulty rising
  • Reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs
  • Intermittent or persistent hind-limb lameness
  • swaying gait
  • Narrow stance in the hind limbs
  • Pain in hip joints
  • Grating detected with joint movement
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip joints
  • Loss of muscle mass in thigh muscles
  • Enlargement of shoulder

There are various actions a dog owner can undertake to help with this type joint diseases. These are taking the dog for a swim, this increases joint and muscle activity, Physiotherapy (passive joint stimulation), and keeping your dog at a suitable weight via proper nutrition and exercise. Sometimes surgery may be the most suitable treatment avenue to undertake due to the severity of the joint looseness,  degree of osteoarthritis, and your veterinarian's preference for treatment.

Tips and comments

These joint diseases of dogs normally affect older dogs or dogs born with a birth anomaly. 

By Athena Rhodes, published at 03/21/2012
   Rating: 4/5 (11 votes)
What Are Diseases Of Dog Joints?. 4 of 5 based on 11 votes.


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