Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Labrador Retriever Owner’s Guide to Canine Arthritis

Almost any Labrador retriever owner would tell you that this breed makes a wonderful pet. They’re gentle, intelligent and oftentimes active dogs- making them wonderful companions whether you’re in the mood to go for a jog or just spend some quality time relaxing with a loyal companion.

However, just as with any breed, Labrador Retrievers are prone to certain health conditions. For labs, one of the most common conditions experienced is the early onset of arthritis. Simply defined, arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. Arthritis in Labrador retrievers is oftentimes caused by hip dysplasia, a genetic disease in which an animal suffers from an abnormal formation of the hip socket.

So, if a condition is genetic there’s nothing an owner can do to improve the health of their dog’s joints, right? Wrong. There are a number of things pet parents can do to alleviate joint pain and better the quality of life for their sweet pooch.

Help your Dog Maintain a Healthy Weight: Simply put, the more weight a dog has to lug around, the more stress is placed on his joints. Those few extra puppy pounds can exert a lot of unnecessary pressure and cause an increase in joint pain. Consult with your pet’s veterinarian about a diet and exercise plan if your lovable pup has put on some extra weight because obesity can increase the risk of developing hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Start a Joint Supplement Regimen: Adding a joint supplement to your dog’s routine is a simple way to boost joint health. Canine nutritional supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin, like Guest post provided by VetDepot.com - an online retailer of Cosequin and supplies. for dogs, help protect cartilage from breaking down.

Be Reasonable about Exercise: Too much exercise can actually increase the likelihood of developing joint disease for dogs that are genetically predisposed. However, a healthy amount of muscle mass is important in protecting joints. The key is to encourage exercises that strengthen muscles (i.e. light running, swimming) instead of exercises that exert a lot of force on the joints (i.e. jumping activities like Frisbee).

Maintain a Close Relationship with your Pet’s Veterinarian: If you own a dog that is genetically predisposed to joint disease, your vet can offer suggestions to keep joints as healthy as possible. Obviously, your vet is also the only one that can provide a correct diagnosis for any joint condition your dog does acquire. Once an arthritis diagnosis has been made, an anti-inflammatory may be prescribed. Always speak with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you have about these medications.

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