What is Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)?
Degenerative Joint Disease is more commonly known as arthritis or osteoarthritis. DJD is a progressive condition where overtime the cartilage between the joints gradually deteriorates. Cartilage becomes brittle and in severe cases break away, wearing at the bone which can lead to decreased blood supply, bone spurs, and even joint instability.
Signs and Symptoms of Degenerative Joint Disease
Obese dogs are most at risk for developing DJD, weight and diet management of overweigh dogs is recommended to lower the risk of developing DJD. Signs of degenerative joint disease usually show in middle-aged and senior pets. Signs include:
- Reluctance to go on walks or walking at a slower pace
- Lethargy and sleeping more often
- Joint stiffness
- Taking more time to stand up
- Difficulty getting in the car
- Sitting with their hind legs stretched out
In more advanced cases the dog may refuse to walk on the affected leg, which leads to other mobility issues.
Treating Canine Osteoarthritis and DJD
Damage caused by DJD is irreversible, although there are many steps you can take to alleviate your dog’s joint pain and improve their quality of life.
NSAIDS and Medication
Joint inflammation from DJD can be medically managed with a combination of NSAIDS, pain medication and daily joint supplements. Your vet will develop the correct course of treatment for your pet.
Laser Therapy for Joint Pain
Laser therapy is a painless, noninvasive treatment option to reduce inflammation and joint pain in pets with DJD. In most cases, laser therapy is only one component of a pet’s treatment plan. And for the best outcome, laser therapy should be combined with other forms of canine rehabilitation.
Canine hip braces are beneficial for pets with hip joint pain and inflammation.
A hip support system combines compression and lift in the joint to make movements less painful, while supporting the hip joint. Hip braces for dogs are vital to keep pets with hip conditions ambulatory and walking.
Learn More: Hip Braces for Dogs
Canine Joint Support
Dogs dealing with degenerative joint disease in their lower legs may need the joint to be brace. Wearing a leg brace or splint provides stiff support along with joint stabilization.
While DJD isn’t typically a condition with a lot of inflammation, an arthritic joint may swell. A pet with swollen carpal or hock joints will need an adjustable splint. An adjustable splint allows for the splint width to be increased or decreased to accommodate any swelling. For lighter weight leg support a neoprene wrap or hugger to protect the joint.
Pets with spinal arthritis or another degenerative spinal condition, a dog back brace can help to support the spine and alleviate back pain. The vertebraVe back brace features multi-tier support featuring memory foam support layers as well as removable metal support spines for optimal support.
Wheelchairs Keep Pets Active
A dog wheelchair is ideal for the more severe cases of degenerative joint disease where baring weight on the back legs becomes impossible or too painful for a pet.
The wheelchair provides a dog or cat with the support they need to maintain their active lifestyle without baring full weight on their hind legs. If a pet is experiencing joint pain in all four legs, a full support quad wheelchair will keep them fully supported.