Arthritis, not just an old dog problem
Arthritis will be in almost all our working dogs by the age of 5. The severity depends on breeding and size of the breed, previous injuries, nutrition and how well they have been looked after.
As working dogs age, normal and abnormal wear and tear within their joints can start taking its toll. Cartlidge within the joint starts wearing thin and it causes inflammation within the joints. Arthritis is a progressive disease which means that over time it gets worse. Inflammation will lead to further break down of cartilage and then bone growths (osteophytes) can develop. This creates rough joint surfaces and leads to ongoing pain and lameness and eventually limb disuse with muscle wastage.
Not all dogs, even those with significant arthritis, vocalise when they’re in pain, but a dog whose muscles are atrophied, limbs are stiff or are limping are in pain. We need to remember, our dogs now have to keep up with a motor bike, not a horse like the old days. So always think about preserving joints, by utilising trailers and bikes instead of making them run. Remember puppies have soft growth plates and these should be protected in young dogs by limiting jumping and hard running until around 18months of age.