Osteoarthritis can be a painful and progressive disease involving the permanent, long-term deterioration and destruction of a joints articular cartilage resulting in chronic pain, inflammation of the surrounding tissues and decreased mobility.
In a normal synovial joint, cartilage is found at the end of each of the bones, which acts as a shock absorber and reduces friction. In osteoarthritis this cartilage is worn down and there is progressive joint inflammation in the early stages of the disease and destruction of the cartilage.
There is often a reduction in muscle in the limb because the joint is not being used normally or a thickening of tissue around the joint.
It is characterised by a stiff gait, lameness, and leads to a restriction in the range of movement of a joint. A dog may start to find it difficult to get up after lying down and will appear stiff, or begin to struggle with stairs or jumping out of a car.
What causes canine osteoarthritis
Although it is generally seen in older dogs, it can happen to dogs of any age. Dogs that have congenital defects where the hip, elbow, knee or shoulder joint have not formed correctly, would be susceptible, along with dogs that have received trauma to a joint, or fracture. It can be aggravated by obesity where more strain is placed on a joint. Nutritional deficiencies, growth abnormalities, infection or immune diseases can effect the wear and tear on cartilage.
Osteoarthritis can be affected by the weather, a lack of activity or the correct exercise.
Osteoarthritis is incurable and is progressive, as the joint becomes stiffer and more painful a dog will try to compensate, this then puts extra strain on adjacent muscles ligaments and tendons.
How Canine Myotherapy helps Osteoarthritis
Myotherapy can help by working on the muscles that support the joint by keeping them supple, and working on the muscles that have been compensating for the injured joint. Often there will be an imbalance in these muscle groups or a muscle can become shortened. By easing the stress on the affected area you can help reprogram these muscles, and help to maintain normal use of the joint and improve gait.
Massage will help to ease muscular tension and provide relief from pain in the effected limbs as well as those that compensate.
Osteoarthritis can be managed by giving the dog the right exercises to help strengthen muscles and joints, and by encouraging a reduction of weight in an overweight dog.