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Arthritis in Dogs - Canine Arthritis

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

One of the most encouraging new therapeutic treatments for Canine Arthritis and chronic Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) in dogs is a natural substance called Cannabidiol (CBD). In canine arthritis patients where CBD is reported to work, pet owners proclaimed their dogs have less pain, better sleep, increased appetite and improved attitude–all leading to an overall improvement in Quality-of-Life.

Arthritis is a commonly occurring chronic illness in humans and animals alike. Among all domestic and pet animal species, dogs suffer from arthritis more often because of excessive running or exercise, acute injury, and/or genetic predisposition.Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in dogs and is the most common source of chronic pain in older dogs. Osteoarthritis, (or Degenerative Joint Disease), is a slowly progressive inflammatory disease, which is characterized by degeneration of the cartilage, hypertrophy of bone at the margins, and changes in the synovial membrane that eventually results in increasing pain, stiffness of joints and the overall discomfort in our furry friends.

Osteo Arthritis in Dogs

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common occurrence in the veterinary world, accounting for approximately 37% of all canine lameness. It’s been suggested that naturally occurring canine inflammatory joint disease is similar in many respects to symptoms of human rheumatoid arthritis; whereby mechanical stress is thought to induce changes in immune system biochemical factors within the affected joints–leading to articular cartilage degradation.What starts out as a seemingly minor physical insult becomes a chronic cellular inflammatory response that perpetuates a destructive cycle of subchondral bone thickening and synovial membrane inflammation that eventually leads to your dog having intractable pain and long-term immobility.The risk factors for developing osteoarthritis in dogs include; older age, being of large or giant breeds (i.e. German Shepherds, Labradors Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, and Rottweilers), developmental orthopaedic disease, trauma and obesity. Canine genetics can also play a role in the initial stages and eventual progression of the disease.


Dogs that are diagnosed with arthritis tend to be lethargic, have difficulty moving from a sitting or lying position, cracking joints, stiffness, muscle wastage, and visible pain. Diagnosing osteoarthritis in dogs usually begins with owners observing the pain and stiffness while the animal is performing everyday activities like running, walking, jumping, or rising from a lying or sitting position. As a general symptom of arthritis, dogs can also show signs of joint pain by whining, biting or trying to move away when physically touched.Being aware of changes in your dog’s normal gait, stride and joint flexibility are early predictive indicators of canine osteoarthritis. Pet parents should be observant of any changes in their dog’s bones and joints along with any swelling, inflammation or the appearance of enlargement around joints: early detection and diagnosis of osteoarthritis is key to prevent further damage to the joint as well as alleviating symptoms of pain and discomfort.

Does Your Dog Have Arthritis?

Osteo arthritis is a progressive disease that consists of four observable stages:

Stage One: minor bone spurs begin to develop, cartilage matrix begins to break down due to chondrocyte’s metabolism being affected and increasing the production of matrix destroying enzymes.

Stage Two: erosion of the bone due to the cartilage lesions, bone spurs (which affect normal joint movement–this stage is marked by a loss of articular cartilage and is irreversible–resulting in joint degeneration).

Stage Three: cartilage in-between the bones thins out and loses cushioning. The space between the bones is also narrowing, causing grinding between the adjacent bones. Symptoms are severe pain, inflammation in surrounding tissues.

Stage Four:‘severe’ osteoarthritis - joint space is dramatically reduced, the cartilage is almost gone, and joint mobility is greatly reduced. Blood tests can be used to determine the degree of inflammation in the joints from arthritis.

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