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Degenerative Joint Disease in Dogs



Medical treatment of DJD is designed to control signs and symptoms of the disease, not to cure it. Surgery may help alleviate symptoms and slow the disease’s progression. This can include reconstructive procedures, joint removal or replacement, and the surgical removal of aggravating causes, such as bone or cartilage fragments, in a joint.


Physical therapy designed to maintain or increase joint motion is very beneficial and may be done with various motion exercises, swimming, and massage. Exercise designed to strengthen muscle tone is also useful. The pain that comes with arthritis can be managed by cold and heat therapy, such as with heating pads.


Long-term medication may also be helpful in reducing joint swelling and pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, are often recommended.


Living and Management


Continue to monitor your dog's symptoms, as DJD is likely to progress with time, and a change in drug selection or dosage or further surgical intervention may become necessary. Limit activity to a level that will not aggravate symptoms and pain. In addition, a diet including omega fatty acids is sometimes recommended to decrease inflammation.




Prompt treatment of DJD is important to help reduce the disease’s progression of symptoms. It is generally important to avoid trauma or excessive pressure to joints. Exercise and a healthy diet can also prevent obesity, which adds stress to joints.



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