If you know anyone who has suffered from osteoarthritis, you’d know that it can cause pain, stiffness and increasing loss of mobility. And it can also affect our pets. That’s why it’s so important to know the arthritis symptoms to look out for in your pet so you can find the best treatment to relieve their pain and mobility as soon as possible.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition affecting the joints. It occurs when the protective cells which are present in the cartilage surrounding bone become damaged. As the cartilage in the joints begins to break down, the underlying bone structure starts to change.
These changes usually develop slowly and get progressively worse over time. As a result of these changes and the inflammation in the joints that follow, osteoarthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases, it also causes reduced function and immobility.
Arthritis in dogs
Osteoarthritis most commonly affects dogs in their older years, particularly larger breeds. Research indicates that osteoarthritis affects up to 20% of dogs over the age of one.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis include dog’s age, size and gender – with males carrying a higher risk. That being said, cats and other animals can also develop this condition.
Other factors influencing a dog’s likelihood of developing an arthritic condition include previous musculoskeletal injury, joint surgery and genetic predisposition.
Larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds also have an increased chance of developing osteoarthritis.
Signs and symptoms of arthritis in dogs
Initial signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis can easily pass unnoticed. They are often subtle and could be put down to having played too hard or pulled a muscle.
In younger dogs, symptoms can be transient, making it hard to diagnose. However, small signs in young pets can help identify risk factors early, allowing for initiation of supportive and preventative measures before pain or dysfunction gets to critical levels.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs are varying and can include:
- Frequently changing body positions while resting
- Shifting weight when standing
- Trouble sitting or getting up
- Hopping or hitches during normal movement
- Limping, stiffness or lameness
- Reluctance to walk
- Physical or vocal examples of pain when being pet or during certain movements
Arthritis treatment for dogs
Research on the clinical benefits of CBD oil is rapidly expanding, and so is our understanding of the role that the endocannabinoid system plays in the progression of osteoarthritis in dogs.
While conventional treatments for osteoarthritis do work well in many cases, the symptoms of osteoarthritis inevitably worsen as a dog gets older. Eventually, there comes a time when these treatments don’t always provide enough relief – and this is when CBD oil can help.
When administered under the correct supervision of a veterinarian, CBD oil can greatly benefit dogs with osteoarthritis. Not only can CBD reduce inflammation and pain levels, but it can also improve mobility and joint function.
Research on CBD oil for arthritis
Every year, studies are revealing more encouraging results on how CBD oil can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis.
In one well-known trial, dogs with osteoarthritis were administered an oral dose of full-spectrum CBD oil. The dogs in the study were assessed for their pain and mobility levels before the trial began, as well as at two and four weeks into treatment.
The results showed a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity with CBD oil. The study concluded that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. When it comes to adverse events of this CBD treatment, the researchers did not find any significant side effects for the duration of this study.
Potential side effects of CBD oil for dogs
The most common side effects from CBD observed in dogs are gastrointestinal changes, such as mild diarrhea and reddening around the ears. Side effects depend on the delivery route and are often mitigated by careful dosing regimes monitored by your vet.
Please also be aware that formulas which include the THC chemical may not be safe for dogs. To avoid accidental ingestion of THC and ensure the safety of your pet, it is vital to source cannabis treatments from a veterinarian and not black market sources. Black market products are often untested and may not contain what is stated on the bottle.
The wrap-up on CBD for arthritis
CBD oil can be used to treat animals with osteoarthritis, especially dogs, and help relieve joint pain and improve function and mobility.
If you would like to learn more, please reach out to our friendly team at CBD Vets Australia on (02) 8294 9303 to see if CBD medication is suitable for your pet and discover a local prescribing vet.