Arthritis kills. It is a progressive painful disease, and the major cause of elective euthanasia.
The disease process begins within one or more joints but the effects are soon felt elsewhere due to the pain created within that joint. Over time the structures that would normally support the joint will become dysfunctional or waste away as the dog would prefer to not use the limb appropriately as it’s too painful. The dog can initially cope with this discomfort, but struggles to when pain is created in other limbs due to compensatory weight carriage effects.
Over time the dogs ability to cope deteriorates, limbs weaken and the pain increases. Eventually owners witness their dog not willing to stand up, not willing to walk and not able to interact. Their quality of life is considered insufficient and the decision is made to humanely euthanise.
By intervening, this process is slowed down, the pain is eased, and mobility, quality of life and the dog– owner bond is maintained. Early identification and action is key to successful osteoarthritis management.