- Mar 08, 2016
- by Chrissy Millen
He rarely complains, but you can tell your dog is suffering from joint pain when he has a tough time going up stairs, climbing up on the sofa and even getting up in the morning. Unfortunately, dog joint pain is usually a result of a deterioration in their hips and joints as they grow older, similar to what humans experience as they age. Additionally, athletic pooches and some specific breeds are more prone to conditions that cause elbow, knee and hip joint pain. When it comes to the causes of joint pain in dogs, there are a few common culprits:
Canine arthritis is one of the most common causes of dog joint pain. While it tends to be an age-related condition, according to the ASPCA, dogs who sustain an injury while they're still growing can develop arthritis early. WebMD says that degeneration in ligaments over time is the basic cause of arthritis. That degeneration can be due to a number of things including infection in the joint, problems with the immune system, obesity or dislocation, fracture or other trauma on or near a joint.
Hip and elbow dysplasia in dogs can affect any breed although the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University notes that dysplasias are more common in large breed dogs. Because dysplasia is a developmental irregularity caused by joints not fitting together properly, the condition can show up in dogs as young as four months old. Elbow dysplasia typically manifests as lameness in the affected front leg, pain after exercise, swelling, and you may notice that the distressed elbow bows out from your dog's chest. Dog hip dysplasia symptoms can range from barely noticeable to obviously crippling. Read more about diagnosing hip dysplasia in your dog. Stiffness and soreness in the morning, after exercise and when the weather turns cold is one sign of this condition. You also may notice that your dog walks unsteadily and runs by moving his hind legs together similar to how a rabbit hops.
The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine reveals that torn ligaments are one of the most common canine orthopedic disorders and causes of dog joint pain. Just like human athletes, sporting and larger breeds such as Akitas, Dobermans, rottweilers and retrievers are prone to injuries running and maneuvering while hunting, competing in agility or simply during play. The U of I also notes, however, that even smaller dogs who are overweight can tear a ligament, too.