Stem Cell treatment for dog arthritis

Diagnosing Arthritis in Dogs

Does My Dog Have Arthritis?

Did you know one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions especially in older dogs is Osteo-arthritis?

That doesn’t mean however that every dog with mobility issues such as lameness, sore backs slow to rise, difficulty jumping into cars or walking up stairs – has arthritis.

There are many other conditions that could be contributing to these symptoms of which osteoarthritis is only one of them.

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

The word “arthritis” means joint inflammation. However – not all mobility issues are related to a joint problem.

Lameness, stiffness and pain be caused by other conditions such as:

  1. A soft tissue injuryStem Cell treatment for dog arthritis
  2. Spinal disease
  3. Bone Cancer

Making any assumptions without further investigations can lead to wrong treatments and potentially make your dog worse.

How We Diagnose

We start by performing a thorough musculo-skeletal assessment. This gives us an idea of whether we’re going to recommend X-Rays, Ultrasound or a CT Scan to see the extent of the injury or disease.

  • For suspected soft tissue injuries – we use Ultrasound e.g Muscle tears, Ligament damage
  • If we think it’s a spinal issue – we will do a CT Scan e.g. Intervertbral Disc Disease, Spondylosis
  • If we’re suspicious of joint involvement we’ll do either a CT or X-Ray

Following these steps gives us the best possible chance of an accurate diagnosis. Because – without them, we’re really only guessing.

In our practice only vets with additional training in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation perform our musculo-skeletal assessments.

Trends in Diagnosing Arthritis

Unfortunately what we’re seeing is many dogs being diagnosed with arthritis without any form of imaging to support that conclusion.

These dogs come to us for second opinion because they are not improving on their prescribed medications. That’s because they have other un-diagnosed issues causing their symptoms OR the prescribed treatment program is not working for them.

We find that once we discover the real cause of these dogs’ pain and get them onto the right treatment plan, we see significant improvement in their mobility and happiness.

Arthritis Treatment Options

There are 2 parts to successfully managing osteo-arthritis in dogs once diagnosed.

  1. Pain Management
  2. Mobility management

Pain Management

A pain management program can include:

  • Medications – Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Drug free modalities – Acupuncture – Laser Therapy – Shockwave – Pulse Electromagnetic Therapy

Mobility Management

Rehabilitation therapies to include:

  • Arthritis injections – these can help in maintaining joint health and preventing further deterioration of joint cartilage
  • Hydrotherapy (Pool and Underwater Treadmill)
  • Therapeutic Exercises – joint mobilisation
  • Therapeutic Massage – Myotherapy

Things Not to Do if you think your dog has Arthritis

  1. Buy supplements and products without seeing your vet first. Although there are dozens of products on the market that claim to assist in the management of osteo-arthritis in dogs, they are not designed to be a complete treatment. You could also be wasting your money on these products if your dog has something else going on.
  2. Make assumptions that your dog has arthritis just because he or she is getting older
  3. Use human pain medications. These are NOT designed for animals and can be extremely harmful when given to your pets.

But Won’t this all cost more?

In the long term. Probably Not. We see many people wasting their money on therapies and medications that are not working for them at all. And most of these don’t come cheap. By investing in a correct diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan ensures that both you and your best mate are getting the most benefit from every dollar spent.

So – what are your thoughts?

Worth getting a diagnosis? We think so.

7 Ways we Can help your Dog with Osteoarthritis

Bulldog Breed Veterinary Care

Smooshy Face Dogs – What’s Not to Love about Them

Smooshy faced (brachycephalic) dogs are just so darn cute with a wiggly body outwardly matching their lovable personality. However – this cute squishy face comes at a cost.

This defining structure means their whole respiratory structures leading from the head to the lungs are shorter and much more distorted than in other longer faced doggy breeds. Dogs that fall into the flat faced breed variety are called “Brachycephalic” or (Short Head) breeds.

These include:Brachycephalic Airway disease in Dogs

  • Pugs
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Shi Tzus
  • Boxers
  • Pekinese
  • French Bulldogs
  • English Bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers and
  • English Toy Spaniels

Health Issues

Because of the distorted airways, many of these delightful souls suffer from laboured breathing throughout their whole life. This is simply the result of how they’re put together. This in turn often leads to secondary health issues because of their hearts and lungs having to work so much harder than that of their long faced friends.

While the cute little sounds of snorts and snoring may seem endearing, in reality it is what breathing sounds like for an animal that doesn’t breather easily or freely.

This is why so many more precautions need to be taken with these breeds.

Brachycephalic Breeds and Heat

Dogs use breathing to cool down on hot days or after exercise. You’ll see this often – dogs panting heavily with their tongues hanging out. This rapid exchange of air between the lungs and the outside environment helps keep dogs cool. Brachycephalic dogs can’t do this. While they would love to, their respiratory structures simply can’t accommodate it. For them – it’s like breathing in and out through a straw when they heat up or when exercising. In other words – they struggle.

So What Can You do to Make their Life Less Stressful?

What you can do for them includes:

  • Keep them at a healthy weight. Being overweight only adds extra burden to their lungs and heart
  • Exercise them only during the cooler parts of the day and NEVER on a hot dayBrachycephalic Airway Disease in Bulldogs
  • Keep them inside and cool on hot days – preferably in an air-conditioned room
  • Use a harness instead of a collar. Collars around their throat place extra pressure on their windpipe making it even harder to breathe
  • Avoid situations that can make them overexcited or fearful such as off lead dog parks and other areas where they are at risk of being chased by other dogs

Veterinary Preventative Care

Yes – you guessed it. These guys will need extra veterinary care because of their breed specific health issues. And if you take out Pet Insurance, be aware, the premiums will cost more. That’s because these dogs are classified as high risk breeds.

Corrective (Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome) Surgery

The upper airway abnormalities that occur in this syndrome include stenotic nares, an elongated soft palate, a hypoplastic trachea and everted laryngeal saccules. An individual dog with brachycephalic syndrome may be affected with a combination of one or more of these abnormalities.

Any of these upper airway abnormalities can cause increased airway resistance, making it harder for your dog to breathe. Most dogs with this syndrome are able to breathe more easily through their mouth than their nose. Generally, the more abnormalities present the more severe the symptoms.

Brachycephalic surgery addresses these issues – Stenotic Nares (Widening the nostrils) Elongated soft Palate (Shortening) and Larygeal saccules (Removal)

How is Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome Diagnosed?

Oftentimes this is only diagnosed once dogs have been presented with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fainting episodes or collapse.

Is there any Treatment available for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome?

Corrective Surgery is still the best option as any medical management does not address the underlying structural abnormalities.

The earlier the abnormalities are corrected, the better the outcome will be as over time other secondary issues will develop which further compromise your dog’s health.

Our Recommendations for Brachycephalic Airway Disease

If you own one of these breeds then we highly recommend a full medical workup to determine the best corrective actions to take BEFORE you have a problem such as a collapse or secondary issues develop. The younger your dog is – the more he or she will benefit in the long term.

This will include X-Rays of your dog’s chest and airway structures, oral examinations and blood tests. Oral examinations of the soft palate and laryngeal saccules will require either heavy sedation or General Anaesthesia. Due to the fact that these breeds are at greater risk during anaesthesia, we recommend performing any necessary surgery at the same time.

This means your dog only has one anaesthetic and not two.

If you have any more questions about Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome Diagnosis or Surgery – feel free to reach out to us via email or Facebook Messenger.