Managing arthritis in beagles

As Beagles grow older, it is undeniably true that the health deteriorates too. Whether they are well-taken cared of or not, there is always a risk of developing diseases as dogs age. But sometimes, disease that usually affects older dogs can also be seen in young ones. One of these diseases is the canine arthritis.

Just like any other organs and systems in the body, the skeletal system plays an important role in promoting normal health condition among dogs. It is composed of bones, cartilage and ligaments. These organs are responsible in providing the body with framework, protecting the internal organs and in providing a full range of motion. When one of these bones or joints is damaged, the dog’s normal activity will surely be affected.

Canine arthritis occurs when there is an inflammation in the joints of a dog. Dogs of all sizes, breeds and ages can develop arthritis though older dogs are more prone to this disease. Canine arthritis is categorized into two; degenerative joint disease and inflammatory joint disease.

Degenerative joint disease, also called osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects the bones that make up the joint is damaged. Cartilage is damaged when there is a normal stress on abnormal joints or abnormal stress on normal joints. Degenerative joint disease is further subdivided into two; primary and secondary. Primary degenerative disease has no known cause. On the other hand, secondary disease can be the result of hip dysplasia, patella luxation (loose kneecap), osteochondritis dissecans, trauma and ruptured cruciate (knee) ligaments.

Another type of canine arthritis is inflammatory joint disease. Inflammatory joint disease can be caused either by infection or immune-mediated diseases. This type of arthritis usually affects multiple joints and is accompanied by fever, anorexia and all-over stiffness. Inflammatory joint disease is further subdivided into two; infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Infectious disease can be caused by bacteria while immune-mediated disease is caused by weakness in the immune system. This type of arthritis can also be hereditary.

Signs of arthritis in Beagles include reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump or play. Gradual limping and swelling around a joint can also be seen. Your dog will also exhibit tenderness when flexing a joint and may hold its breath or stop panting when an affected joint is used. Decrease in appetite is also present in canine arthritis.

Severe arthritis can be treated usually through surgery. But there are some cases when surgery is not needed anymore. Non-surgical treatment of arthritis includes painkillers, exercise, rest and diet. Dog owners should carefully read the product label of dog foods to check its content. But the amount of food and frequency of feeding should be regulated as well to prevent obesity. Exercise is another step to prevent obesity in dogs. But Beagles with arthritis should only have limited and gentle exercise. They should also be restricted from doing strenuous activities.