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Managing Arthritis In Beagles

Feb 20, 2008
The health of Beagles may deteriorate as they they grow old. Even if they are always well-taken cared of, there is always a risk of developing disease as dogs grow old. There are some diseases however that affect young and old dogs alike. One of these diseases is canine arthritis.

The dog's skeletal system is as important as the human's skeletal system. It promotes normal condition among dogs by providing the body with framework, protecting the internal organs and in providing a full range of motion. The system is composed of bones, cartilage and ligaments. In order for the dog to continue its normal activities, these bones and joints should not be damaged.

Canine arthritis happens when there is an inflammation in the joints of a dog. Dogs of all sizes, breeds and ages can be affected but older dogs are at greater risk of this disease. Canine arthritis has two classifications; the degenerative joint disease and inflammatory joint disease.

Degenerative joint disease is also called osteoarthritis. This happens when the cartilage that protects the bones that make up the joint is damaged. Damage in the cartilage is caused either by normal stress on abnormal joints or abnormal stress on normal joints. Degenerative joint disease is further subdivided into two; primary and secondary. There is no known cause for primary degenerative disease while secondary disease can be the result of hip dysplasia, patella luxation (loose kneecap), osteochondritis dissecans, trauma and ruptured cruciate (knee) ligaments.

Inflammatory joint disease is another type of canine arthritis. This type can be caused by either infection or immune0mediated diseases. It usually affects multiple joints and is accompanied by fever, anorexia and all-over stiffness. Inflammatory joint disease is further subdivided into two; infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Infectious disease can be caused be bacteria while immune-mediated disease is caused by weakness in the immune system. Hereditary can also be the cause of this type of arthritis.

Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump or play are signs of arthritis in Beagles. Gradual limping and swelling around a joint can also be seen. Your dog will also show tenderness when flexing a joint and may hold its breath or stop panting when an affected joint is moved or used. Decrease in appetite is also present in canine arthritis.

Severe arthritis is usually treated through surgery. There are some cases however when surgery is not needed anymore. Some cases of arthritis can be treated with painkillers, exercise, rest and diet. It is important that dog owners should carefully read the product label of dog foods to check its content. The amount of food and frequency of feeding should also be regulated to prevent obesity. Exercise is important, but should be done in limited and gentle way. They should also be restricted from doing strenuous activities to prevent the disease from progressing.
About the Author
Richard Cussons is a writer with loads of knowledge about dogs. Learn valuable facts about Beagle training at this site for Beagles.
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