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    How can I determine if my 11 year old dog has the beginning of arthistis?
     
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    Ponyrun2 responded:
    Usually they will be stiff, maybe display a slightly rounded back, when waking up.... many will stop going up and/or down stairs... perhaps they can't go for as long a walk as they used too... they might become really stiff after a hard day of playing.... some might not really show any signs at all until well advanced...

    I had a 13 year old Belgian Malinois, that sure, was a little stiff in the mornings, but he would still jump up onto the bed and the couch like a puppy... it wasn't until an x-ray was done for something else that the vet discovered he had severe arthritis in his back... the vet was especially shocked when I told him the dog was still jumping and not on any pain meds....

    Sometimes your vet can tell by feeling the joints while manipulating the leg in certain patterns... and, of course, xrays can be usefull for seeing the bone changes that come with arthritis....
     
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    Ernie Ward, DVM responded:
    In addition to the other replies, keep in mind that if a pet is exhibiting limping or stiffness - they REALLY hurt! The goal is to intervene before arthritis becomes fulminate. If you can have your pet's arthritis diagnosed early in the course, simple lifestyle (more walking! swimming!) and dietary changes (glucosamine/chondroitin and omega-3 fatty acids) may help slow the progression of clinical disease.

    If you even suspect a problem, have it checked out. I always say,"Subtle can be significant." Good luck! Dr. Ernie


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