Joint disease is one of the most common conditions affecting dogs – it is estimated that as many as one in ¬five dogs over 12 months old are affected with osteoarthritis. Although dogs of any age may be affected, osteoarthritis is more common in older dogs (like in humans), and it tends to be more common in overweight or large breed dogs.
Some dogs are also more likely to develop joint disease as a result of inherited joint abnormalities (such as hip or elbow dysplasia), or as a result of injuries to the joint. Managing joint pain and inflammation is extremely important in preserving the health and vitality of your dog and providing him with a good quality of life.
Understanding joint in¬flammation:
In healthy joints, a layer of cartilage covers the ends of the bones, creating a smooth gliding surface for the joint. A normal joint is surrounded by a joint capsule that is lined by a thin layer of cells (the synovial membrane) that is responsible for producing the joint fluid (synovial fluid) which lubricates the joint and reduces friction as the dog moves.
Damage to these areas or inflammation affecting them will injure the cartilage and interfere with the normal function of the joint. This will cause pain and stiffness, and will weaken the joint. Often, dogs with osteoarthritis have more than one joint affected.