Dog Arthritis and Common Joint Problems Part 2 – The Back Legs
Thanks for reading Part 2 of this article on common joint problems. Dog’s really do give their joints a workout and dog arthritis is unfortunately very common. Let’s continue our tour, 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 but the common ones you will find on other posts.
One of the most common causes of hip joint problems in dogs is hip dysplasia, a deformity of the hip joint (coxofemoral joint) that occurs during your pet’s growth period.
In a nutshell, the ball of the femur does not fit properly into the hip socket. Some affected dogs show no signs of this condition, while others may develop an altered gait and, as dog arthritis sets in, pain.
Other hip joint problems include:
- Coxofemoral Luxations (hip dislocations)
- Legge-Perthes Disease (a deformity of the femoral head resulting in lameness)
As is the case with humans, your dog’s knee joint is the articulation between the femur bone and the fibula and tibia. The stability in the knee joint comes from the surrounding soft tissue, and because it plays such a vital role in the movement of your pet, it is also susceptible to a number of injuries, including:
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture, a tearing of the knee ligaments that cross over deep inside a dogs knee. Very common!
- Caudal Cruciate Ligament Injury, similar to the cranial cruciate ligament injury
- Collateral Ligament Injury, injury to the ligaments on each side of the knee
- Multiple Ligament Injuries
- Meniscal Injury, a torn knee cartilage – very common!
- Patellar Luxation, a displacement of the kneecap, usually medial (towards the middle)
- Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Stifle. Cartilage from the knee detaches and causes arthritis.
Hock or Ankle (Tarsus)
The dog’s hock joint is what would correspond to the human ankle. In the hock, the large bone of the lower leg (tibia) rests principally on the tarsal bone (talus).
One of the most common hock joint problems is OCD (osteochondritis dissecans), which means, as it does in the shoulder and the elbow, a small piece of bone or cartilage has come loose in a young dog’s joint, resulting in inflammation and irritation.
However, when examining your dog with hock pain or swelling, your veterinarian will also consider the following in order to make a correct diagnosis:
- Ligamentous injury of the Tarsus, a sprained ankle
- Achilles tendon injuries very similar to what we get
Other Joint Problems
Not all joint problems are specific to a particular joint. Inflammatory arthritis is common in people as rheumatoid arthritis. Thankfully this disease is far less common in dogs but they do suffer from a similar condition called immune mediated polyarthritis which can be very debilitating.
Cancer can sometimes be seen. While not common in canine joints, bone cancer sometimes occurs around the knee, shoulder and wrist resulting in dog arthritis symptoms.
Dog joint problems should be taken very seriously, as early intervention and treatment by your veterinarian can prevent any associated onset of dog arthritis. Read my blog and you can ask me any questions in the comments section below.
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