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Pain in Your Pet’s Joints: Dog Arthritis Part I - The Front Legs

Physical activity with your dog is fun for both you and your pet. However, dogs are just like humans when it comes to anything physical. When we run and jump, the forces produced in these movements may strain our joints. This is also true of dogs, where strain over the period of time may lead to dog arthritis

The next few paragraphs of this post will be about the different injuries in the joints that may possibly result in the development of dogs arthritis. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to have an idea on what this disease is all about.

Shoulder Joint
Osteochonritis dissecans (OCD) is condition wherein there is a loss of blood flow to the cartilage, causing a section to flap off.  Because shoulder muscles are quite large and heavy, inflammation may not be observable. However discomfort may be noticed when the joint is being extended and flexed.

There are other injuries that occur in the dog’s shoulder . One is scapulohumeral luxation where the supporting structures of the shoulder are damaged or dislocated. Another common injury is bicipital tenosynovitis - inflammation of the shoulder tendons.

Elbow Joint

Dog arthritis may be a result of abnormal elbow joints. When your pet wobbles when walking, visit the vet to check your dog for abnormalities. The most common abnormality in the elbow is dysplasia - a failure to properly form the elbow joint in some way. This may be the presence of bone fragments or an incongruent (poorly contoured) elbow. Osteochonritis dissecans (OCD) can also affect the dog’s elbow.

Other elbow conditions that your veterinarian will check for when your dog has joint pain include:

    •    Joint instability
    •    Traumatic elbow luxation
    •    Congenital (development related) elbow luxation
    •    Elbow Luxation caused by Premature Closure of the Distal Ulnar or Radial Physes
    •    Blunt trauma to the elbow joint


The wrist is another joint susceptible to dog arthritis. An example is carpal hyperextension, where the ligaments that support the back of the wrist are damaged. It often results in lameness and pain. Another type is carpal luxation or subluxation, here both the ligaments and carpal bones may be damaged.
For more information about dog arthritis, proceed to part 2 which talks about the hind legs. For any clarifications on the subject matter, talk to your local vet.
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