Catch Dog Joint and Muscle Problems Before They Get Out of Control

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Catch Dog Joint and Muscle Problems Before They Get Out of Control

by John Laraby

We love our dogs and try to take care of them as best as possible. But problems occur despite our best intentions and precautions. Common ailments include arthritis, muscle strains and pulls and hip dysplasia. However, your beloved pooch need not be in constant pain and discomfort. The first step is to identify whether there is a joint or muscle problem. Even if in doubt, a visit to the vet is never unwarranted, especially if you are able to catch a problem before it gets too serious.

Different factors can affect the health of your dog?s joints. Infection, degenerative disease and physical trauma are all known factors that cause joint problems. Joints work improperly due to bone, muscle, ligament, tendon or nerve damage. Physical signs of joint problems include obvious pain, swelling, rigidity and an increase of body temperature. However, these symptoms are not necessarily due to joint problems. Understanding common joint and muscle problems that dogs have will help you to see the warning signs and help you to understand when your pet starts acting out of the ordinary.

Arthritis: Arthritis is caused by muscle strain near the connection with a tendon. Symptoms of arthritis in dogs include limping or stiffness, having a difficult time rising, reluctant to jump when it was previously not a problem and even obvious pain. Now, noticing these symptoms after a weekend hiking or camping can be quite normal, but any prolonged symptoms are best checked out by your veterinary.

Muscle Sprain or Strain: Muscle injuries are not only one of the most common injuries in dogs, but the most difficult to diagnose. Most often, muscle sprains or strains go undetected simply because dogs do not show pain the same way that humans do. If you are noticing obvious pain, most definitely take your pet to the vet. Dogs mostly show signs of ?slowing? or ?favoring? rather than yelps or cries in pain. Favoring a leg for more than a few days or acting lethargic are reasons to be concerned.

Hip dysplasia: The basic definition of hip dysplasia is any abnormal formation of the hip joint. This abnormal formation causes looseness to the joint, which results in physical symptoms. Some breeds are more prone to dysplasia than others, but it is beneficial for all dog owners to know what to look for. After regular exercise the puppy may refuse to walk any farther and sit back on its legs. Another warning sign in puppies is that their back legs may look a bit underdeveloped.

Even if your dog appears normal, it does not mean that he or she has escaped hip dysplasia. Some dogs simply accept the pain and you won?t notice any sort of complaining until the hip has degenerated into joint disease. The only way to know for sure your dog doesn?t have hip dysplasia is through a pelvic x-ray.

When it is Time to go to the Vet: Any sort of obvious pain is cause to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Even if you?re fairly confident that it is simply arthritis, you will not know for sure until your dog is examined.

What to Expect at the Veterinarian: At the visit, the vet will want to do an overall physical, especially if your dog is a new patient or it has been awhile since the last visit. The physical will include a dental check, physical palpitation for any bumps or lumps and confirmation of spaying or neutering. A dental check-up is more important than some owners realize. Bacteria can lead to infection, which then can spread throughout the entire body if left untreated. When the visit is for possible joint or muscle problems, the vet will most likely want an x-ray to rule-out hip dysplasia and verify any other theories.

Hopefully, all checks out well with your pet and there are no problem other than the need for a little extra rest! We all love our pets and sometimes all does not turn out well after a vet visit. But, there are many ways to treat joint and muscle problems while alleviating discomfort. Ignoring a problem is never the solution and when in doubt, make an appointment and have the vet check it out!

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