Dogs with arthritis – common symptoms

Pain is one of the most common symptoms of arthritis in dogs. Why do dogs experience pain? They suffer pain because of the inflammation of their joints. Inflammation is a method where the white blood cells (leukocyte) and chemicals help protect our body as well as your dog’s body by fighting foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. In other cases such as autoimmune disease, the body’s own defense system attacks itself even without the presence of a foreign substance that results in damaging the tissues of the body.

Dog arthritis is as painful as people’s arthritis, and one way that we can help our dog to be more comfortable is to get an orthopedic dog bed.  There are many sizes and styles and colors to choose from that will fit your dog and your home decor.

Not all arthritis is associated with inflammation. The following are the types of arthritis that are connected with inflammation.  These are; rheumatoid arthritis,  gouty arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and SLE or systemic lupus erythematosus. However, osteoarthritis is not associated in inflammation, this will include fibromyalgia, back pain, and neck pain.

Dog arthritis signs and symptoms of inflammation are:

  • redness on the affected area
  • swelling joint that is tender and warm to touch
  • joint pain, stiffness
  • functio laesa or loss of function

* Note: not all symptoms of arthritis in dogs are present simultaneously.

Flu-like dog arthritis signs and symptoms of inflammation are as follows:

  • chills
  • fever
  • loss of energy or weakness
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle stiffness

Inflammation in your dog is caused by the chemicals that are released into the affected tissues. Whenever the chemicals are released the blood flow increases into the area of infection that results in warmth and redness.  Chemicals that cause leaks of fluid into the tissues also cause swelling that may stimulate the nerve endings, which in turn causes dog arthritis pain.

Inflammatory diseases are diagnosed through thorough medical history and physical examination, the location or area of painful joints in your dog’s body, the presence of joint stiffness every morning, results of laboratory exams such as x-rays, blood tests and other diagnostic exams. These diagnostic examinations will help you figure out the inflammatory disease that your dog is experiencing.

Internal organs that are affected by inflammation are:

  • Myocarditis- or inflammation of the heart that may cause chest pain or fluid retention.
  • Bronchiolitis- this is an inflammation of small tubes that transport air into the lungs. It may cause shortness of breath.
  • Nephritis- inflammation of the kidneys that causes high blood pressure or worse, kidney failure.
  • Uveitis- or iritis- is an inflammation of eyes that may cause decrease vision or pain.
  • Polymyositis- is an inflammation of the muscles that cause tenderness and weakness.
  • Vasculitis- is an inflammation of blood vessels that cause rashes, redness, headaches or internal damage.

Dog arthritis pain is not always a main symptom because some organs do not have nerve endings that stimulate the brain to feel pain in the affected area. A treatment plan should be directed at the cause of inflammation of the organs, not the inflamed organ itself. In addition, pain usually masks the real problem your dog is experiencing. The pain is just an effect of something that is happening inside your dog’s body.

Andy Erikson

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