Did you know? Osteoarthritis and Physiotherapy

Published on September 11, 2019.
Last Updated July 11, 2021.
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Did you know? Osteoarthritis and Physiotherapy

Did you know that 1 in 5 dogs will develop osteoarthritis? And many owners don’t know how to recognise the early signs of osteoarthritis. If your dog:

  • Has become less active
  • Is stiff and slow to rise after rest
  • Has limited movement in a joint or limb or
  • Has trouble jumping or getting up and down stairs

Chances are, they’re not just “getting old” but have the beginnings of degenerative joint disease.

Osteoarthritis commonly occurs in dogs over 7 years. Overuse, obesity, conformational problems or old injuries can all cause degeneration, swelling, inflammation of the joint capsule and abnormal bony spurs. All these signs of osteoarthritis may lead to a loss of mobility and pain in our canine companions.

Phsyiotherapy in arthritic patients

Physiotherapy relieves pain, can reduce joint stiffness, builds strength and develops balance and coordination. Good muscle strength reduces the impact through joints and all these factors combined are important in keeping your pet mobile and able to engage in the activities they love.
Maintaining mobility is not only important for your pets quality of life but becomes crucial in maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. If your pet is overweight, losing 10% of their body weight results in a 50% improvement in pain. In contrast, traditional anti-inflammatory medications only improve pain from osteoarthritis by 30%.

Underwater Treadmill

Hydrotherapy, or exercise in water, is ideal for patients with osteoarthritis. Water unloads painful joints, allowing safe, controlled weight bearing on weak and/or painful limbs and studies have shown it particularly effective in reducing pain in these patients.
Your treating vet will also discuss with you multimodal approaches to dealing with this disease including: analgesia, weight control, dietary supplements such as fish oil, and disease modifying agents such as pentosan polysulfate. These approaches will always be most beneficial when in conjunction with canine rehabilitation program.

About the Author

Bec Moss

Veterinarian
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