Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a chronic degenerative disease that may affect one or more joints (hip, elbow, knee, wrist, vertebrae). OA is associated with severe inflammation and erosion of joint surfaces. It generally comes with great deal of pain and reduced joint mobility, which affects quality of life tremendously. Typical symptoms include decreased activity, reduced mobility, increased rest, asymmetry, reluctance to climb, lameness, difficulty sitting or standing, and general stiffness.
OA affects over 4 out of 10 dogs over the age of 7. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce the effects of the disease, but there is currently no treatment that cures this disease. A major challenge for dogs with OA is that they have trouble getting the exercise they need which, in turn, may lead them to gain weight and worsen their condition.
How can I tell if things are improving?
With FitBark it’s pretty simple. Look for the typical signs of a dog in pain or discomfort, and see how your dog’s activity and energy increase when they are treated.
1. Look for increased activity
Establish a baseline for at least one week before starting a new treatment, and watch how your dog’s daily activity as well as hourly peaks change over time. This is exactly how we’ve been helping research institutions validate the effectiveness of new treatments for OA. Please be mindful that certain treatments require months before you can see an improvement, whereas others require a few weeks to produce initial results.2. Look for increased quality of rest
Like humans, dogs in pain continue to change their position in search of relief. Increased quality of rest (fewer sleep disruptions and longer uninterrupted rest) is visualized by higher sleep scores.If you’re wondering how OA may impact your dog’s mobility, check out the chart below from FitBark Explore (it will display only if you access this page from a desktop computer). This information will help you understand why it’s so important to work with your veterinarian to choose the right treatment and monitor your dog’s response.