Dog Arthritis and Common Joint Problems Part 1 – The Front Legs
Your dog’s joints can get a real workout, from fetching tennis balls to jumping into and out of a car. But for some dogs, the resultant pressure on their joints can be a real problem. You see, more use leads to more injuries and can eventually lead to joint-related problems such as dog arthritis.
If you want a quick tour of dog arthritis you have come to the right place. Let me take you, joint by joint, through the common problems can lead to dog arthritis. Please note this is just a summary, I don’t have time to detail each disease. Look for the common diseases on other posts.
Your dog’s shoulder joint is subject to osteochonritis dissecans (OCD) caused by loss of blood flow to the bone. The heavy shoulder muscles can make detection of the associated inflammation in this area difficult, but during an examination your vet will observe that extending and flexing the shoulder joint will cause discomfort for affected animals.
Sometimes the supporting structures of the joint can become damaged and dislocate, a condition known as scapulohumeral luxation. This, along with bicipital tenosynovitis (inflammation of the shoulder tendons) can be very painful for your pet.
Dog arthritis can often be the result of unstable elbow joints. If your pet exhibits signs of recurring or unresolved front leg limping, a consultation with your veterinarian is warranted.
The most likley causes of elbow pain in younger animals is elbow dysplasia, where fragments of bone (fragmented coronoid process) are present in the elbow joint, and ununited anconeal process, where some of the bones that form the elbow fail to fuse.
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 incongruity
- 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
When a dog suffers carpal hyperextension they have a breakdown of the ligaments that support the back of the wrist. This results in its collapse from the normal upright position. Non-weight bearing lameness can result, which can progress to dog arthritis associated pain and lameness.
Dog wrist joint problems can also be attributed to carpal luxation or subluxation, the collapse of the carpal joints, along with sprained ligaments. In young, growing dogs, one cause of wrist joint problems often investigated is carpal laxity syndrome.
I hope this overview of joint problems in the front legs has been helpful. You can read further on my blog to find out more about specific diseases. Please read on for part 2 of this article – Common Joint Problems of the Hind Limbs.
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