Can arthritis in dogs be cured?

Can arthritis be cured? Unfortunately not. Once cartilage in your dog’s joint(s) has been damaged it rarely repairs itself completely. But many pets can successfully be made pain free by appropriate long-term use of medication and sensible management to control further deterioration.

Arthritis is a common and often debilitating condition affecting many dogs, causing pain, stiffness and sometimes a lack of mobility. It’s a degenerative joint condition that can affect any dog of any age, however it is most commonly seen in older dogs. Treatment is available, however the question remains – can arthritis in dogs be cured? The answer is not so simple, as the condition is often managed rather than cured. While the disease itself cannot be reversed, several treatments exist to help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, as well as managing the overall mobility of the dog.
In this blog post, we will discuss the various treatments available for dogs with arthritis, and explain why it is important to consult a veterinarian in order to determine the best course of action. We will also explore the importance of nutrition and exercise in managing arthritis and the role that lifestyle changes can play in keeping dogs comfortable and active. Finally, we will provide advice on how to recognize the symptoms

Clubs Offering:

Dogs frequently experience osteoarthritis, especially older dogs and large breeds. Despite the fact that there is no treatment for this progressive condition, early detection and proper management can help keep your dog active and enhance quality of life.

Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is an inflammation of the joint that worsens over time as a result of cartilage degeneration. In a sound joint, cartilage functions as a cushion to ensure smooth motion throughout the joint’s entire range of motion. This cartilage cushion degenerates in cases of osteoarthritis as a result of age, injury, chronic stress, or disease. When this cushion of protection is gone, there is pain, swelling, a reduction in range of motion, and the formation of bone spurs. While osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, it most frequently impacts the limbs and lower spine.

My 9 year-old Lab began having difficulty keeping up with my 2 year-old Lab, and he sometimes seems stiff when he gets up in the morning. His veterinarian has diagnosed osteoarthritis. I need to know more about this disease.

artritis_-_2009 Osteoarthritis (OA) is a complex condition involving inflammation and degeneration of one or more joints. The word osteoarthritis is derived from several words in Greek: osteo meaning “bone,” arthro meaning “joint,” and itis meaning “inflammation.” Dogs with OA experience pain and inflammation in various joints that interfere with the activities of daily living.

A comprehensive physical examination, palpation (using the fingers to localize and assess the intensity of pain), and additional diagnostics such as x-rays or other imaging technology are used to diagnose OA.

There is no single cause of OA. There are many factors involved, including:

  • Body conformation (how a dog is built)
  • Body condition/weight (being overweight or obese is highly correlated with OA)
  • Abnormal joint development (e.g. canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas)
  • Activity history
  • Injury history (e.g. past fracture, ligament damage, muscle injury, joint infection, damage/erosion of cartilage)
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Nutritional history
  • In actuality, as OA develops and progresses, the majority of dogs with OA experience a combination of these factors.

    We now understand that OA is NOT caused by simply “getting older.”

    Joint replacement

    Hip replacement is the most common joint replacement surgery. It is primarily used in dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a condition where there is increased laxity in the hip joint, which can result in the onset of osteoarthritis at a young age and in varying degrees. Most of the time, arthritis can be controlled without surgery, but in cases where this is not possible, replacing one (or sometimes both) hip joints can significantly enhance quality of life.

    A new artificial “ball and socket” is used to replace the arthritic hip joint during hip replacement surgery. Hip replacements have been performed in dogs since the 1970’s. Since the procedure has advanced over time, both small and large breed dogs can now choose to have it. Although it is a sophisticated procedure, many specialty clinics across the nation still offer it. When considering hip replacement surgery, it is important to have discussed this with your vet because while good or very good outcomes can be anticipated in roughly 95% of cases (Henderson et al 2017), in a small number of cases complications can arise.

    The treatment of severe osteoarthritis of the elbow and stifle (knee) joint with joint replacement surgery has only recently become an option. It is more difficult to achieve positive results because of the complexity of these joints, but these procedures are now available in many centers across the UK.


    How Long Can dogs live with arthritis?

    Arthritis is a long-term condition that needs life-long management. Most dogs can live happily for many years after being diagnosed with arthritis if it is properly managed, even though it gradually gets worse over time.

    Can arthritis go away in dogs?

    Unfortunately, there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, which is a progressive condition. The best way to maintain the health of your dog’s joints is to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis through diet, exercise, and the use of protective joint supplements.

    What is the best treatment for dogs with arthritis?

    Physical therapy can be very helpful for dogs with arthritis, just like the right kinds of regular exercise can. Many owners also find hydrotherapy, or water therapy, helpful. Holistic therapies, like acupuncture, can be useful as well.

    Should you walk a dog with arthritis?

    Arthritic dogs will benefit from controlled exercise. Better than an hour of running around after a ball or with another dog are leisurely regular lead walks.