The causes of arthritis are unknown. Studies have shown that all mammals can get joint disease in one form or another, but there are obvious causes of secondary arthritis such as trauma or injury.
In these cases, external forces cause damage to the joints that gradually worsens over time leading to a lifelong and incurable joint disease such as DJD. Other causes of arthritis are abnormal wear on your pet’s joints (such as excessive exercise) or a congenital defect (such as hip dysplasia).
Causes of Arthritis and Contributing Factors
There are several things that can aggravate arthritis, the biggest being obesity. We all want to spoil our pets and it’s pretty hard to resist them! But think long term…obesity is one of the biggest health problems in our pets today, so restricting their food intake to a reputable pet food and cutting out the fatty treats and ‘human’ food makes a big difference. It is easier to prevent obesity in dogs and cats than it is to treat it – remember “Prevention is better than Cure”
Excessive exercise can also be a strain on your pet’s joints. Shorter walks are better for your pet than longer ones. For example some owners feel that one long walk per day is enough for your dog, in a way it is as your dog is getting exercise daily but research shows that fewer shorter walks are actually more beneficial for your pet (and you!) – Shorter walks increase metabolism supporting joints and also helping with weight loss for those podgy pets.
Other conditions such as diabetes and some medical treatments can also contribute to arthritis. Speak to your vet if you have any concerns.
Congenital or hereditary factors can also dictate if your pet is at risk of developing arthritis.
Breed specific factors in relation to dogs – Labradors are prone to arthritis – they are renowned for being a very ‘foody’ dog and will eat anything ! Giant breeds such as Newfoundlands, Great Danes and Bernese Mountain dogs among others are also prone to joint problems. That isn’t to say that other dogs don’t develop arthritis, ANY dog or indeed cat can get this disease but the treatment is usually the same regardless of breed, size or age.