There are many things that can cause dog joint pain. Here are a few of the most common:
Osteoarthritis is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs and affects one in five adult dogs. In fact, that number doubles in dogs seven years and older. It is a degenerative disease that causes pain, loss of mobility, and a decreased quality of life. See below for more information on arthritis.
•Hip dysplasia and other developmental problems:
Hip dysplasia and similar conditions like elbow dysplasia are developmental, genetically inherited conditions. They occur when the joints do not grow properly and become dysfunctional causing arthritic pain and discomfort.
•Cruciate ligament problems:
Cruciate ligament problems are among the most common dog arthritis problems. They involve the wear and degeneration of a dog’s ligaments as they get older, leading to arthritis and joint pain.
Von Willebrand’s disease, a type of hemophilia, can cause excess bleeding in the joints, which may lead to arthritis-like symptoms.
Many other diseases can cause arthritis or similar joint pain in dogs. These include obesity, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and hyperparathyroidism. Your veterinarian should be consulted if you suspect that your pet may have any of these diseases.
Strains injure tendons that link muscles and bones. This can happen if your dog stretches too far, too much, or too often. Athletic dogs often get strains, but this injury also can happen when any dog slips, falls, or jumps during normal play. Dog strains are common in the hips and thighs.
Sprains harm the ligaments that connect bones, which causes joint damage. Sprains can happen to hunting dogs who jump hurdles, as well as to the average dog who may hurt himself taking a hard landing off the couch, or even by something as simple as stepping in a hole. The wrist and knee are common joints for dogs to sprain. One of the most serious injuries is a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), which connects the bones of the knee.
If your dog goes lame in one of his hind legs, he may have torn or ruptured his cranial cruciate ligament, or CCL – similar to the ACL in humans. This ligament connects the back of the femur (the bone above the knee) with the front of the tibia (the bone below the knee).