The words arthritis, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease are often used to describe the same disease, and no matter what it is called, the result is pain and inflammation in a dog’s joints. The term “arthritis” is the most common one used to describe this joint disease that can easily, and usually does at some point, incapacitate a dog.
The gradual loss of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the end of the bones in a dog’s movable joints results in what is labeled “Degenerative Joint Disease.” There are no nerves in the cartilage, so when the cartilage of one bone presses or rubs against the cartilage of another bone, the dog feels no pain. But when the cartilage completely wears away due to aging or joint disease, the bone becomes exposed. The bone itself has nerves, so when the two bone ends in a joint touch each other, the result is severe pain and inflammation.
Adding to the cause of pain in degenerative joint disease are the small bony projections that form on the bone closest to the joint. This type of arthritis progressively worsens until the poor dog has considerable difficulty getting up and down by itself. The pain is so severe in some dogs that they are unable to stand or walk.
Degenerative joint disease in a dog can develop simply as a result of normal wear and tear on a joint and becomes worse as the dog ages. Veterinarians refer to this stage of the disease as “primary degenerative joint disease.” Osteoarthritis can also develop as a result of another condition that affects a dog’s joints. This is what is known as “secondary degenerative joint disease” and is identified either as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.
Any dog with a congenital joint problem like hip dysplasia is at a high risk of developing degenerative joint disease and is more likely to develop arthritis if it has suffered a fracture involving the joint or has a ruptured ligament in the knee.
The symptoms of arthritis vary depending on which joints are involved, the age of the dog, and the severity of the disease. The first symptoms an owner usually notices is a change in the way their dog walks because the dog will try to put more of its weight on the unaffected limbs. This results in the muscle wasting away in the affected limb because the dog is using it less, or is putting less weight on it. If a dog has hip dysplasia involving both hind legs, the muscles of those legs may be thin, compared to the muscles of the chest and shoulders which often become larger because the dog has to put more weight on its front legs.
Depending upon the amount of pain a dog has, its appetite may diminish and it will often choose to be alone in a warm or soft place where it can rest or sleep. The dog’s joints generally don’t become swollen and what the dog feels is a dull aching pain. This is why a dog usually won’t cry out in pain when it has degenerative joint disease.
Some types of degenerative joint disease can be treated with surgery, but in lieu of an expensive procedure like hip replacement, a safer, easier and much less expensive solution is Winston’s Joint System. This all-natural formula was developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved pet when nothing else worked. For more than 20 years this proven formula has been providing dogs relief from the pain and stiffness of degenerative joint disease.
Degenerative joint disease does not heal itself. It is a progressive, debilitating disease that will continue to worsen without treatment. This is all the more reason to start your dog on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System if your vet identifies the problem as hip dysplasia, arthritis, or OCD. Winston’s is a tried and proven formula that will slow the progression of your dog’s joint disease and allow the dog to live comfortably for years.