Spinal Arthritis in Dogs: Understanding & Managing the Condition

Spinal Arthritis in Dogs: Understanding & Managing the Condition

Our dogs are our best friends and beloved companions, and as responsible pet owners, we want to ensure they enjoy a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, as dog’s age, they are at risk of developing various health issues, including spinal arthritis. This degenerative condition can cause discomfort, pain, and mobility issues for our four-legged friends, and it can be challenging to watch them suffer. 

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at spinal arthritis in dogs, exploring its causes, symptoms, and potential treatments, so you can help your dog live their best life, even in the face of this challenging condition. Read on to learn more.

What is Spinal Arthritis in Dogs?

Spinal Arthritis in Dogs: Understanding & Managing the Condition

Spinal arthritis is a debilitating condition that can cause intense pain and discomfort in dogs. This form of arthritis occurs when the cartilage that surrounds the vertebrae breaks down, causing inflammation and damage to the bones and tissues around the spine. Spinal arthritis is more prevalent in dogs than in humans due to its horizontal spines, which puts more pressure on the vertebrae. 

As dogs age, their spines become weaker, making them more susceptible to developing spinal arthritis. The condition wears down the vertebrae over time, causing bone spurs and swelling around the nerves. While the effects on the tissues are slightly different from joint arthritis, the degenerative aspects are similar, as both conditions cause the bones and tissues to deteriorate over time. 

Download the free eBook: Healing Your Dog’s Arthritis: The Stem Cell Therapy Guide

Symptoms of Spinal Arthritis in Dogs

If you suspect your dog may be experiencing spinal arthritis, it’s essential to know the common symptoms to watch out for. These symptoms are similar to those of hip arthritis and can vary in severity. Some of the most common symptoms of spinal arthritis in dogs include:

  • Difficulty moving and getting up: Dogs with spinal arthritis may struggle to move around or get up from a sitting or lying position. They may appear lethargic or tired and avoid activities they once enjoyed.
  • Limping or favouring a leg: Dogs may start limping or favouring a leg due to pain and discomfort in their spine. They may also shift their weight to one side to avoid putting pressure on the affected area.
  • Stiffness or reluctance to move: Dogs with spinal arthritis may show reluctance to move, especially in the morning or after long periods of rest. They may also show stiffness or discomfort when walking or moving around.
  • Yelping or whining in pain when touched: Dogs may vocalize their pain when touched, either through whining or yelping. This is a sign that your dog is experiencing discomfort and may require immediate veterinary care.
  • Loss of appetite: Dogs with spinal arthritis may lose their appetite or show disinterest in their food. This can be a sign of pain and discomfort or be a side effect of medication.
  • Inability to stand for long periods: Dogs with spinal arthritis may have difficulty standing for long periods or walking long distances. They may tire easily or show signs of discomfort and pain when exercising.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Early recognition and treatment of spinal arthritis can help manage the condition and prevent it from worsening.

Causes of Spinal Arthritis in Dogs

As previously mentioned, spinal arthritis is caused by wear and tear on the spine as a dog ages. The condition is more prevalent in older dogs, but it can occur in younger dogs as a result of an injury. Arthritis can also run in the family line.

Treatments for Spinal Arthritis in Dogs

Spinal arthritis in dogs can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are several treatments available that can help alleviate the symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life. The available treatments for spinal arthritis in dogs are similar to those for joint arthritis, and they include:

  1. NSAIDs and Corticosteroids: These medications are commonly used to treat the pain associated with spinal arthritis in dogs. While they can provide temporary relief from pain, they do not treat the underlying condition. Therefore, it is important to use them under the guidance of a veterinarian to ensure that they are safe and suitable for your dog.
  2. Supplements: Certain supplements containing essential vitamins and minerals such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help maintain bones and tissues damaged by arthritis. These supplements work by promoting the repair of damaged tissue and supporting the growth of new tissue. Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial in reducing inflammation associated with spinal arthritis.
  3. Diet and Exercise: Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular exercise can help reduce the strain on the arthritic site and build up muscle to support the spine. A well-balanced diet that provides all the necessary nutrients is also essential in managing spinal arthritis in dogs. Veterinarians can provide guidance on the appropriate diet and exercise regimen for your dog based on their individual needs.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a cutting-edge treatment for arthritis and other related conditions, which has proven to be highly effective in canines. The success rate of this therapy is remarkable, and it can lead to rapid results, including improved mobility, reduced pain, and an overall better quality of life for dogs suffering from arthritis.

To perform this treatment, a sample of the dog’s own fat tissue is taken and processed to isolate the stem cells. These cells are then cultured in large numbers and injected into the affected joints to facilitate the repair and rejuvenation of damaged tissues. The entire procedure is minimally invasive. 

Arthritis Med for Dogs

Living with a Dog with Spinal Arthritis

While medical intervention is likely to provide the most life-changing results, there are ways you can make things easier for your furry friend at home. Here are some tips to help manage the condition:

  • Provide a comfortable place to rest: Dogs with spinal arthritis need a soft and comfortable place to rest. It is essential to provide them with a bed that offers good support and cushioning to the spine.
  • Use soft bedding: In addition to a comfortable bed, dogs with spinal arthritis should have access to soft bedding, such as memory foam or orthopaedic dog beds. These beds provide extra cushioning to the spine, which can help alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • Avoid activities that put a strain on the spine: Certain activities can put a strain on your dog’s spine and exacerbate its arthritis symptoms. Activities like jumping, climbing stairs, or running on hard surfaces should be avoided or minimised.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine: A well-balanced diet and regular exercise are essential for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the strain on the arthritic site. Low-impact exercises like swimming or walking on a flat surface can help keep your dog’s muscles and joints strong.
  • Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations: A qualified veterinarian is the best source of information and guidance when it comes to managing your dog’s spinal arthritis. They may recommend specific medications, supplements, or other treatments to help manage your dog’s pain and improve their quality of life.


Natural Remedies For Dog Arthritis

In summary, spinal arthritis in dogs is a challenging condition that requires careful management to help your furry friend live their best life. New therapies such as stem cell therapy mean that your dog doesn’t need to suffer. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatments, you can take steps to minimise your dog’s pain and discomfort and help them maintain their mobility and overall health. 

If you suspect your dog may have spinal arthritis, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Remember, early recognition and treatment can make all the difference in managing the condition.

Download your free copy of our eBook: Healing Your Dog’s Arthritis: The Stem Cell Therapy Guide for more information.

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