The prevalence of arthritis in dogs
The prevalence of arthritis or degenerative joint disease in dogs is far greater than most people anticipate. A whopping 80% of dogs will contract osteoarthritis by the time they are eight years old, with 20% of dogs showing signs at only one year old! This number is likely much higher, with statistics only being recorded against formal diagnosis records. Lets’ break down the numbers with some facts and further figures.
Arthritis, particularly mild cases, can be immensely difficult to recognize. Dogs are adept at masking signs and symptoms, concealing either by being boisterous in nature or influenced by pack mentality with reluctance to show vulnerabilities. Regardless, enhanced modern care practices are shedding light on the continual need to improve pain management in dogs for them to lead happier and longer lives. Early detection is crucial for early intervention, and with the emerging information on just how many dogs are affected, it’s appropriate that arthritis management knowledge becomes a staple for every dog owner.
As it turns out, arthritis does discriminate somewhat. Large breeds are more prone due to their rapid development and increased weight loading pressure onto joints. Hereditary issues can also sway the genetic odds, ensuring a greater likelihood in the offspring of breeding animals that were not carefully selected to avoid prevalent traits. This is not to say that small dogs cannot contract arthritis, similarly, those bred with poor confirmation may be more likely candidates for angular limb deformity – and the irregular positioning of the limbs to joints also means more chance of arthritis.
Is there a breed that is immune or less likely to contract arthritic changes? Quite simply, no. All dogs of any breed or size have the potential to contract joint inflammation and develop chronic pain over time. Lifestyle is another important factor, with balanced exercise and rest regimes being crucial and specific to every breed type. Too little exercise in a sport or working dog can be detrimental due to weight gain and immobility, whereas too much exercise in a less active dog can accelerate wear and tear on cartilage tissues. Hence it is a good idea to research thoroughly when considering a dog that will suit your exercise style and home life.
With one in every five dogs showing signs from the time they are one year old; it is more important than ever to raise the knowledge profile of canine osteoarthritis for dog owners. There is no known cure, making early detection and preventative treatment the best standard for ensuring comfort and longevity for our furry friends.