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Golden Retriever Joint Problems

Retriever is a breed of ‘Gun Dog’ that helps the hunter to retrieve the game. They were solely bred for the purpose to retrieve birds or other prey without any damage under adverse conditions like facing strong tides, high winds and sometimes to even break through ice. This breed is an excellent swimmer with a tender bite to grasp birds. Its limbs are powerful and feet are webbed. It is a little longer than tall with his hindquarters higher than forequarters. The coat of it is virtually waterproof. It is due to its oily rough outer coat and thick wooly undercoat.

It can withstand repeated plunges into icy water and loves to swim and retrieve. It tends to be calm indoors and it active outside. It is eager to learn and tends to be reserved and protective against strangers.

Joint problems in Retriever

Retriever breed is an amazing companion in hunting. However these dogs also may suffer from joint problems like most breeds of dogs. The joint problems to which Retrievers are mostly prone include Osteoarthritis and Hip Dysplasia. These joint problems and other are explained in detail down below.

(i) Hip Dysplasia:-

One of the most common joint problems affecting all dogs is Hip dysplasia and Retrievers also suffer from it. Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease. The condition doesn’t allow the hip socket to form properly. Due to which the hip socket suffers a poor fit and results in damages to the joints and arthritis. Earlier the condition is diagnosed better is the treatment and recovery.

With the progression of this condition dog feels pain in daily life activities that include walking, getting up and lying down. There are generally three types of dysplasia, which are as follows.

  • Elbow disorders: It is a form of dysplasia which might be present since birth. It might include united arconeal process or fragmented coronoid process. The result is pain and weakness and dog will limp on the affected leg after lying for a little while. The best option to avoid this condition is surgery as there has been little degeneration of joints.
  • Shoulder disorders: It is a condition commonly prominent when a dog limps on his front leg. In this condition a little flap of cartilage cuts off the head of humerus and causes pain. The best treatment for it is also surgery but remember that surgery only has high success rate if performed at an early age.
  • Knee problems: These problems arise when Anterior Cruciate Ligament of knee is ruptured. This condition makes the dog lame and uncomfortable on manipulation of affected knee. This also gives rise to a condition known as Cranial Drawer. This is the place where femur and tibia move forward and backward. Sedation is used to exhibit cranial drawer in dog because muscle is tense when dog is awake.

(ii)  Osteoarthritis:-

This is a degenerative problem of the joints seen in dogs. The condition normally is seen in older dogs due to years of wear and tear of joints. This condition can generally affect shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and back.

(iii) Arthritis:-

Arthritis is a degenerative joint problem also common in Retrievers. In this condition joints become stiff, painful and inflamed. Pure bred dogs are generally more prone to Arthritis. If young dogs sustain an injury they can also suffer from Arthritis. Dogs suffering from Hip/Elbow Dysplasia are more likely to suffer from Arthritis later in life.

(i)  Osteochrondrosis Dissecans (OCD):-

One of the problems found in other breeds and also German shepherd is Osteochrondrosis Dissecans also simply called OCD. This condition is characterized by intense pain due to extensive damage to the cartilage of the joints.

(ii)  Panostetisis:-

Risk of Panostetisis is higher in Retriever puppies than in adults. The condition refers to abnormal and quick growth of long leg bones that cause severe pain. The condition is most common in puppies under 12 months of age. However the condition can also affect up to two years of age dogs after this it is extremely rare. Panostetisis is also known as Pano, is incurable. The puppies seem to outgrow it in a month or two.

Suffering from Pano puppy seems to be in pain. It may not feel up like running and playing and might also limp. Pups suffering with Pano can be normal one day but might suffer from growing pains the next day. The condition comes and goes but it is normally tend to disappear after 18 months of age.

Symptoms of joint problems in Retrievers:

Pain can take many forms from severe to mild, dull to sharp pain in dogs. As dog cannot tell us from mouth what their problem is, we must look for these signs and symptoms ourselves. Some of these symptoms of the joint problems as follows:

  • Overt lameness i.e. holding the limb up or holding it funny.
  • Change in moods like aggression and irritation
  • Lethargy
  • Severe pain in joints
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Hind limb weakness
  • Dragging of rear feet
  • Fever
  • Inability to stand or function
  • Disturbance in diet
  • Moaning or groaning
  • Due to lack of muscle usage some dogs may suffer with Atrophy (loss of muscle mass).
  • Slow or stiff when getting up
  • Joint swelling

Prevention and treatments:

Treatments for joint problems are divided into following types.

(i)  Aggressive Surgical treatment:-

Surgical treatments include the arthroscopic cleaning of a joint all the way to total joint replacement. Suffering with Hip dysplasia treatment is surgery. There are few Dysplasia surgeries depending on severity of dysplasia and importance of Arthritis. Surgery requires a recovery time of 6-8 weeks and is quite expensive.

(ii)  Non operative treatment:-

Non surgical procedure includes the one with most importance is weight management and body condition. The monitoring of dog’s weight is of importance to reduce stress on joints. Keeping the weight in check also reduces the affects of inflammation because fat causes inflammation in joints.

(iii) Medications:-

If surgery is not an option you can use different medications prescribed by vet. There are various types of food additives and medications. Drugs include anti-inflammatory, analgesics and pain relievers. Some of the medications include Rimadyl, Metacam and Tramadol etc.  A tablet of the joint health supplement P&B Hip and Joint Support is recommended to the dogs suffering from Arthritis - check out on our site for more information.

(iv) Therapy:-

Other than surgical procedures and treatments there are physical therapy programs; professional scientific base programs with aid of a rehabilitationist. Therapies include are as follows.

  • Underwater treadmills
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Electric stimulation

(v)  Natural relief:-

Hip pain in Retrievers can be eased by giving nutrient supplements that have following inside them.

  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Glucosamine
  • Methylsulfonylmethane

Essential fatty acids also help in easing the pain by reducing joint inflammation. These fatty acids are normally found in the following.

  • Fish oils
  • Vegetable oils
  • Flaxseed

(i)   Exercise:-

A leash controlled walk lubricates hip joints, warms up hip muscles and keeps the cartilage moving smoothly. Swimming is good as water buoyancy takes weight off the hips and give support encouraging hip movements.