Prevention Beats Cure?
Like most of people, we regard our pet as family. When health problems occur, we do everything we can to support our pet. Besides feeding them an healthy diet and exercise are there ways to prevent one of the most difficult issues -Joint Problems-?
Joint issues veterinarians see most;
- Avascular necrosis of the femoral head, occurring in the hips of small-breed dogs around the 4 to 6 months. Blood supply to part of the hipbone stops. The puppy may show restrict mobility when walking and / or troubles getting up. This only occurs in puppies, so often a straight forward diagnose for the vet.
- Chondrodystrophoid breeds are genetically inclined to some joint & cartilage disorders. Elbow incongruity may develop. (one leg bone stops growing before the other, causing the elbow joint to not fit and consequently walking will be painful). Basset hounds, Bulldogs and Dachshunds are part of this group.
- Patellar luxation or floating kneecap, mostly seen in small dog breeds. It is a birth defect, causing the dog to skip or hop. The kneecap (patella) is suppose to ride smoothly in a groove over the femur, if the patella dislocate from it's normal groove when the dog is in motion we speak of a patellar luxation.
- Cranial cruciate ligament rupture is a gradual wear or injury to the ligaments around the knee. The dog will limp and surgery is often required for the last 2 conditions.
- Hip dysplasia, when the hip socket hasn't formed properly we may see arthritis developing. Early detecting by X-rays will help a better outcome. Breeds prone to this are ;
- Labrador Retriever
- German Sheppard
- Golden Retriever
- Osteoarthritis , seen mostly in ageing dogs and can affect any joint. It is a degenerative condition from years of wear & tear on the joints.
Which Dog breeds are more prone to joint problems?
- To breed a purebred they cross 2 dogs from the exact same gene pool, which is limited. But when the breeder use dogs from the same family gene pool (inbreeding) the risk of genetics defects becomes more significantly with each following coupling.
- Small dogs who we are bred for specific qualities, like short legs
- Large & heavy dogs are prone to Arthritis due to their fast growth and engagement in physical action. The top 10 most likely dogs to develop this are;
- German Shepherds
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- St Bernards
- Great Danes
- Old English Sheep Dogs
Aids to support the Dogs Health
Some conditions are birth defects and not preventable but good joint nutrition may support healing after operations. In case of any form of Arthritis due to wear & tear, nutrition is important and;
- Weight control will prevent extra wear & tear on joints
- Walking & swimming are good exercises (probably does the owner good as well!)
Nutritional supplementing with a joint supplement high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and joint nutrition like all the major GAGs (Glycosaminoglycans) in either a powder or a capsule, may well be the aid for your pet.