ANY DOG. ANY AGE. ANY TIME
Osteoarthritis (OA) is not a case of “if” but “when” for most dogs and is not just a disease associated with age. It can develop in any dog of any breed at any age in one or more joints.
OA appears to progress much faster in dogs than in humans. It can start as early as three to four weeks after an injury in dogs, whereas a similar injury in humans may take many years to lead to comparable changes.
It is a chronic joint disease characterised by loss of joint cartilage, thickening of the joint capsule and new bone formation around the joint (osteophytosis) and ultimately leading to pain and limb dysfunction.
ARTHRITIS IS LARGELY SECONDARY TO SOMETHING ELSE
The majority of OA in dogs is described as secondary or incited by a prior joint abnormality. Things like
- Trauma and injury
- Cruciate ligament tears
- Unstable joints
- Poor alignment & conformation defects
- Developmental orthopaedic disease (dysplasia, patella luxation, OCD etc)
- In another subset of dogs, OA occurs with no obvious primary causes and can be related to genetics and age
- Other contributing factors to OA include bodyweight, obesity, gender, exercise, and diet.
OA is a chronic disease – meaning it is a long term disease and the level at which it progresses will drive if the symptoms become worse over time.
Some of the most common symptoms to watch out for are;
- Limited/reduced range of movement
- Lameness that just keeps reoccurring,
- Gait abnormalities such as bunny hopping
- Muscle wastage often due to compensation
- Seems to have “slowed down”, change in behaviours
- No longer able to or hesitates to use stairs,
- Struggles getting up from a lying position,
- Cannot just stand on all feet evenly, hesitates to sit.
Do not wait for symptoms to show as often when they do it can indicate the degeneration has advanced beyond a point at which you can assist healing/delay progression and instead it becomes about pain management.
TREAT THE CAUSE NOT THE SYMPTOM
Osteoarthritis (OA) can and is unfortunately present in dogs as young as 9 months of age.
Sadly too many dogs are diagnosed with OA when the condition is already irreversible and clinical signs are present.
OA in the early stages often goes undetected or ignored as the signs are very subtle, generally mild, can come and go and because osteoarthritis is wrongly considered only a problem affecting older dogs.
When the clinical signs are harder to ignore or dismiss – chronic pain and loss of strength are often present and the diagnosis is made.
Understanding that OA is a disease and not an illness is effectively a big step towards understanding that proactive management can make a significant difference to your dog’s quality of life.
What is the difference between disease and illness?
Disease refers to abnormalities of the structure and function of body organs and systems.Illness can be seen as the response to the disease – the symptoms that cause you to make the veterinary appointment.
Osteoarthritis manifests first at a molecular level (abnormal joint tissue metabolism) followed by body, and/or physiologic imbalance(characterised by cartilage degradation, bone remodelling, osteophyte formation (bone spurs), joint inflammation and loss of normal joint function), that can culminate in illness.
Illness is symptoms such as behaviour changes, lameness, vocalising, stiffness, gait abnormalities, touch sensitive, unexpected aggression, loss of stamina.
The symptoms are likely to vary and differ depending on the dog, the dog’s ability to tolerate pain and the OA phenotype (genes and influence of environment).
Very early OA is characterised by an asymptomatic disease state – THERE ARE NO VISIBLE SIGNS
By the time illness occurs it is very often the case that the disease is irreversible and it becomes about managing pain rather than treatment of the disease.
The earlier you start on proactively managing the disease the better.
- Diet and nutrition – this is where Antinol Rapid fits in – with a powerhouse lipid profile it will not only act as an anti-inflammatory support with regards to joint disease it will also drive cellular health and influence and support general wellbeing.
- With a focus on prevention and wellness, starting Antinol Rapid as early as possible and prior to any symptoms surfacing is thankfully now becoming commonplace with thousands of dogs.
- If dogs are already displaying symptoms then it’s never too late to start Antinol Rapid to dampen down the chronic inflammation and slow the progression especially prior to it becoming irreversible.
- Regular veterinary assessment is critical
- Exercise – regularly and the right way for your dog involving canine therapists if you have a sporting dog or have an acute injury
- Weight control – always aim for objective body condition assessment.