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Degenerative joint disease in dogs

Degenerative joint disease in dogs, symptoms, causes and treatment

Degenerative joint disease, or DJD in dogs for short, is known by the medical term Osteoarthritis.

This refers to this gradual but lasting degeneration of the cartilage which encloses your dog's joints. This long-term damage can be quite debilitating, not to mention painful. While arthritis is the name given to inflammation of one's joints, DJD is used to describe a type of chronic joint inflammation. Deterioration of your dog's joint cartilage leads to Osteoarthritis.

This is the cartilage in the dog's movable joints that surrounds as well as protects the end of the bones. As age is a major factor in this disease, older dogs are consequently more prone to degenerative joint disease.

Symptoms could be diverse in the case of DJD in dogs. For instance, your dog could appear to lose interest in physical activities or display a sporadic lameness. Another sign is muscle atrophy in your dog's leg which has been affected.

Watch out for a rigid walk which seems to get deteriorate with exercise. In fact, these signs may get worse with cold weather, physical activity as well as prolonged inactivity.

Even regular wear and tear which usually occurs on joints can lead to degenerative bone disease in dogs. The likelihood of this factor being the cause will increase as the dog gets older. The term given to this is primary degenerative joint disease. Hip or elbow dysplasia and other such conditions which have an effect on the joint could also lead to degenerative joint disease in dogs. In such cases, secondary degenerative joint disease is the term given. Trauma or congenital issues could be contributing factors. Obesity is a cause as it puts a lot of pressure on the animal's joints. Certain conditions, such as diabetes increases the risk of your dog getting Osteoarthritis.

Depending on the nature of the affliction, treatment of DJD in dogs could be medical as well as surgical. Characteristics affecting treatment include age, causes and the degree of pain. Sadly, by its very nature, degenerative joint disease will continue to get worse. Medical options include the use of Analgesic anti-inflammatories and correction in diet. There are different things you can do to keep your dog comfortable. For instance you should switch to soft, comfortable bedding in a convenient location. Treatment is aimed at slowing down the progression of the disease and making life easier for the dog. Surgeries that help include joint replacement. The prognosis for such cases is good.

  Submitted on November 10, 2009  

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