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Signs Of Osteoarthritis In Dogs

Canines can feel the effects of osteoarthritis, just like their human companions. In fact, OA is a common ailment found in older dogs as well as some larger breeds that are genetically prone to developing arthritis, according to Old Farm Veterinary Hospital in Maryland.

OA is a degenerative joint disease characterized by progressively worsening inflammation of the joints caused by the deterioration of cartilage. While there is no cure, identifying the condition as early as possible can improve the quality of a dog's life and keep the animal active for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to detect OA in dogs in its early stages. Here are some signs of OA, courtesy of VCA Animal Hospitals and the American Kennel Club.

• Stiffness in the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees, where OA is found most often.

• Difficulty getting up and down.

• Lameness in one or more legs.

• Yelping when touched, as inflammation can cause affected areas to be sensitive.

• Irritability in a normally easygoing pet. Dogs may snap or bite when someone tries to touch them or become defensive around other dogs.

• Difficulty posturing to urinate or defecate, which may cause pets to have accidents in the house.

• Loss of muscle mass over the limbs and spine.

• Fatigue and loss of interest in activities.

• Licking, chewing or biting at painful spots, which can cause hair loss and inflamed skin in the affected area.

If pet owners suspect their dogs are experiencing osteoarthritis, they should reach out to their veterinarian.

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