Degenerative Joint Disease – What Is It, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

The terms arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, OCD, and degenerative joint disease are often used to describe the same joint problems in dogs.

But no matter what it is called, the result is pain and inflammation in a dog’s joints. The term “arthritis” is the most common one used to describe this joint disease that can easily -and usually does at some point- incapacitate a dog.

What is Degenerative Joint Disease?

Degenerative joint disease is characterized by the loss of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the end of the bones in the dog’s movable joints.

There are no nerves in the cartilage, so when it touches the cartilage of another bone, the dog feels no pain.

But when the cartilage wears away due to aging or joint disease, the bone becomes exposed. The bone does have nerves, so when the two bone ends in a joint touch each other, it results in pain and inflammation – sure signs that some form of degenerative joint disease is present.

In degenerative joint disease, small bony projections form on the bone that is close to the joint. This adds considerably to a dog’s pain. This type of degenerative joint disease is progressive, meaning it continues to get worse until the poor dog has considerable difficulty getting up and down by itself. The pain is so severe in some dogs that they are unable to stand or walk.

What causes degenerative joint disease?

Degenerative joint disease can occur simply as a result of wear and tear on an otherwise normal joint and occurs as the dog ages. Veterinarians refer to this stage of the disease as “primary degenerative joint disease”.

Osteoarthritis may also occur as a result of another condition that affects a dog’s joints. This is what is known as “secondary degenerative joint disease” and is identified either as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.

Which dogs are at risk of developing degenerative joint disease?

Certainly any dog with a congenital joint problem, like hip dysplasia, is going to be more prone to developing degenerative joint disease.

Dogs who have had injury to a joint such as a fracture involving the joint, or a ruptured ligament in the knee will be more likely to develop arthritis.

What are the symptoms of degenerative joint disease?

The symptoms of arthritis will vary as to which joints are involved, the age of the dog, and the severity of the disease.

The first symptoms an owner usually notices is a change in the way a dog walks since the dog will try to put more of its weight on the unaffected limbs. There may be muscle atrophy (reduction in the size of the muscle) in the affected limb because the dog is using it less, or at least putting less weight on it.

For a dog with hip dysplasia in both hind legs, the muscles of those legs may be thin, where the muscles of the chest and shoulders may increase in size because the dog is putting more weight on the front legs.

Many times the dog may find it difficult to get up after lying down and appears to be stiff. The dog also may be unable to jump up into the car. Many dogs with degenerative joint disease find it difficult to go up or down stairs.

Depending upon the amount of pain the dog is experiencing, its appetite may change and it may also choose to be alone more often.

The dog’s joints are generally not swollen and the pain it experiences is a dull aching type, so a dog usually will not cry out in pain. Some dogs will lick or bite at the area that is painful, while others will seek out warm or soft places to sleep.

How is degenerative joint disease diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will take a history of your dog’s symptoms and perform a complete physical exam. X-rays will be taken. Other lab tests or more detailed exams of the affected joints may be undertaken.

How is degenerative joint disease treated?

Some forms of degenerative joint disease can be treated without surgery. Winston’s Joint System is an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog. For over 20 years, this proven formula has been giving relief from the pain and stiffness of degenerative joint diseases to all breeds and ages of dogs. Owners who have discovered and used Winston’s report that their pets have a new-found vitality and alertness now that they are free of pain.

Degenerative joint disease does not heal itself. It is a progressive, debilitating disease that will continue to worsen without treatment. This is all the more reason to start your dog on Winston’s Joint System as soon as your vet gives you a diagnosis of hip dysplasia, arthritis, OCD, or any degenerative joint disease. Winston’s is a tried and proven formula that will slow down the progression of your dog’s joint disease and many dogs will respond well and can live comfortably for years. Your dog will love you for the gift of years of pain-free living.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Hip Dysplasia in American Mastiffs

In an attempt to deal with the issue of hip dysplasia in American Mastiffs, Fredericka Wagner of Flying W Farms crossed an English Mastiff with an Anatolian Mastiff, a very old mastiff breed known for its intelligence and lengthy lifespan for a large breed.

Through selective breeding, the American Mastiff was created.

The American Mastiffs

American Mastiffs are calm, quiet dogs and are ideal for families with children. They are docile, good-natured dogs, but are very protective of their human owners.

American Mastiff dogs come in three colors – fawn, apricot and brindle. When puppies are born they are dark in color and tend to lighten and achieve their true color by the age of one.

American Mastiffs tend to be healthy and happy dogs with fewer reported incidents of many of the health problems generally seen in other large breeds. However, the Mastiff suffers from some of the same health problems common in other purebred dogs.

Mastiffs are susceptible to heart disease, cancer, and canine hip dysplasia –with hip dysplasia being the most common.

Hip Dysplasia in American Mastiffs

Canine Hip Dysplasia affects millions of dogs every year and can result in debilitating orthopedic disease of the hips. Many Mastiffs suffer from hip dysplasia, osteochondritis (OCD), and arthritis, resulting in a shortened lifespan and a reduced quality of life.

Hip dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip causing excessive wear of the joint cartilage during weight bearing, eventually leading to the development of arthritis, often called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis.

Winston’s Joint System has an excellent history of successful treatment of hip dysplasia in American Mastiffs. This formula is a combination of three natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog and contains no drugs and has no side-effects because it’s just good whole food.

Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue. Within the first 30 days of treatment, dogs on Winston’s Joint System show noticeable and often remarkable improvement.

Mastiffs are inclined to be lazy but they will stay in better and healthier condition if given regular exercise.

They should be taken on regular daily walks to help release their mental and physical energy. They can live acceptably well in a small house or apartment if sufficiently exercised.

They are comparatively inactive indoors, so their ideal living conditions should consist of at least a small yard or daily walks.

If given the proper care and training, the Mastiff can be a loyal and protective member of your family.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds

Hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is, sadly, a pretty common health issue. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, approximately 15 percent of all German Shepherds born between 2000 and 2002 were diagnosed as suffering from hip dysplasia.

What hip dysplasia in German Shepherds means

To better understand what it means when your veterinarian diagnoses hip dysplasia in your German Shepherd, it helps to have at least a cursory knowledge of the basics of this debilitating condition.

Hip dysplasia is caused whenever a looseness occurs in the joint between the femur and pelvis. Over time this looseness causes damage to the femoral head and to the socket and they no longer fit together properly.

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD), often accompanies hip dysplasia, causing additional pain and disability. This damage then causes arthritic changes in the joint which reduces the range of motion and causes pain and inflammation.

Some of the symptoms and signs of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds:

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty getting up and/or lying down
  • Weight shift to another leg
  • Limping
  • Personality, behavior and/or appetite changes
  • Reluctance to walk, jump or play
  • Refusing to use stairs or get in the car
  • Yelping when touched
  • Muscle atrophy

Hip dysplasia is considered to be the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large dog breeds and millions of dogs are affected by it. Currently there is no genetic test for hip dysplasia due to its complex genetic nature.

German Shepherds with almost identical genetic makeups may have a wide range of differences in what degree of hip dysplasia they display as adults.

This fact can be attributed to the differences of environmental influences on the development of the hip joint, and especially the effect of diet on puppies and young German Shepherds.

Proper nutrition is essential for the development of a strong healthy dog. However, poor or excessive nutrition can exacerbate genetic tendencies to develop hip dysplasia.

Treatment

Although there is no actual cure for canine hip dysplasia, arthritis, or osteochondrosis (OCD), regular treatment with Winston’s Joint System will give immediate and long-term relief without drugs.

Winston’s is a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. There are no side-effects because it’s just good whole food. In addition, there are no dosage problems because the dog’s body uses only what it needs.

Diagnosis

Although canine hip dysplasia (CHD) may remain unseen in some dogs, early detection is critical.

The first step to determining whether a German Shepherd has hip dysplasia is through a careful physical examination by a veterinarian who will observe the dog as it sits, stands, and walks.

This is the first measure to check for characteristic signs of hip dysplasia such as a side-to-side swinging gait, lameness, and arched back which is caused by shifting weight forward, or the presence of overdeveloped front-leg and shoulder muscles.

X-rays are the easiest way to diagnose hip dysplasia. A vet will evaluate the joints and take into consideration any symptoms like those listed above because sometimes an x-ray won’t reveal the full extent of the dog’s pain. The vet will also consider the dog’s movements and any evidence of lameness before making a diagnosis.

The veterinarian will move the dog’s hip joint to assess its range of motion and check for pain with the joint extended. The vet will also listen for the “click” of the hip popping out of joint and for any grating sound of bone on bone that indicates cartilage loss.

At the first signs of hip dysplasia, make an appointment with your veterinarian and discuss with him or her the symptoms you have been noticing in your dog. The sooner you can begin treatment, the less pain your beloved dog will experience and you may be lucky enough to extend the life of your friend and companion.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Joint Disease in Dogs

It’s evitable that many dogs will develop some form of joint disease during their lives. It may be mild and unnoticeable, or it could be debilitating, severely affecting a dog’s quality of life by causing complete lameness and the inability to get up and down without help.

Some dogs will develop joint disease in the first few years of their lives but not display any visible signs until much later in life. This is often dependent on the dog’s breed. Dogs are also very susceptible to arthritis, and larger dog breeds are more vulnerable than smaller breeds.

The most common signs of joint disease in dogs include stiffness, limping, or favoring one limb over another. After awakening from sleep a dog with joint disease may find it difficult to get up or be reluctant to climb stairs.

Diseases that can affect a dog’s joints fall into ten major classifications. These joint diseases occur as a result of
(1) ligament, tendon, or muscle disease,
(2) bone fractures involving the joint,
(3) dietary and hormonal diseases such as hyperparathyroidism and obesity,
(4) developmental disorders like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia or OCD,
(5) congenital disorders,
(6) metabolic disorders,
(7) cancer,
(8) inflammatory joint diseases like Lyme disease or rheumatoid arthritis,
(9) degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis), and
(10) degenerative spinal joint disease.

Treatment of joint disease in dogs

The treatment of hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis has vastly improved with the introduction of supplements like Winston’s Joint System.

Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there is no product on the market that can prevent its development, only treat it.

Dogs with hip dysplasia will need to be fed a proper diet and be put on a limited exercise routine.

There are anti-inflammatories like Rimadyl that are used to relieve a dog’s pain. Since Rimadyl and other drugs are controlled substances, they are available only through veterinarians.

Unfortunately, drugs like Rimadyl cannot decrease the progression of degenerative joint disease and often have serious side effects. You should consult with your vet and learn about all the possible side effects before agreeing to treat your dog with prescription medications such as Rimadyl.

Surgery is sometimes performed on dogs with serious cases of hip dysplasia. These surgeries are not always able to stop the progression of the disease and some dogs benefit only by having their lives made a little more comfortable.

Because of the high cost of this type of surgery and the questionable value of performing the procedure on older dogs, the management of pain and inflammation remains the only realistic option for many pet owners.

Weight management is very important for all dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. If surgery or other medical procedure is deemed necessary, the results will be more beneficial if the dog is not overweight.

Up to half of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight, so chances are very good that dogs with hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis are also overweight. Helping a dog lose pounds and get back to its recommended weight is one of the most important things a dog owner can do to help their pet who is suffering from hip dysplasia or arthritis.

Dogs who are overweight and are diagnosed with hip dysplasia or arthritis need to be exercised in ways that provide a good range of motion and muscle building, while limiting wear and tear on the dog’s joints.

Walking, swimming, slow jogging, and going up and down stairs are excellent low-impact exercises. An exercise program should be tailored to a dog based on the severity of the hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis.

The dog’s weight and physical condition must be factored into planning the types of exercise it should be subjected to. The wrong type of exercise can cause harm to the dog. A veterinarian will be able to recommend the best exercise program that’s appropriate for the dog’s condition.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements commonly used to treat animals for osteoarthritis. They are effective on some dogs but not on all dogs.

Glucosamine is the major sugar found in the important building blocks necessary for the synthesis and maintenance of joint cartilage.

Chondroitin enhances this synthesis and prevents damage of enzymes in the joint. These products are not painkillers.

Glucosamine and chondroitin work on the dog’s cartilage-forming cells in an attempt to repair the damaged cartilage. These products take at least six weeks to begin their healing, and if successful, a dog will need to continue taking the products for the rest of their lives to prevent further cartilage breakdown.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been developed for dogs with osteoarthritis. Carprofen, marketed as Rimadyl is the best known of these medications. It is a strong painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, and is available only by prescription because of its potential for serious side effects.

A much safer treatment for dogs suffering with joint diseases such as arthritis, bursitis, osteochondrosis (OCD), hip dysplasia and other degenerative joint disease is Winston’s Joint System, a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. Winston’s contains no potentially dangerous drugs.

Joint disease is a condition that affects a large number of dogs and there is no known cure. Surgery works for some dogs but is almost prohibitively expensive. If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, bursitis, osteochondrosis (OCD), hip dysplasia or other degenerative joint disease, you owe it to your pet to help make its life better by treating it with Winston’s proven formula.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.