Osteoarthritis in Dogs: How to Treat and Manage It

dog with osteoarthritis using water therapy

Hydrotherapy is one of many ways to lessen the pain that comes from osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects up to 25% of dogs, according to the American College of Veterinarian Surgeons. Osteoarthritis affects older dogs the most. Osteoarthritis differs from arthritis because it refers to the degeneration of cartilage in a pet’s joints. Whereas arthritis merely refers to joint inflammation. While we can’t reverse the condition, there are many ways that we can help to alleviate your dog’s arthritis discomfort. Today we’ll share what those treatments are and discuss how to manage osteoarthritis in dogs. 

The Top Causes for Osteoarthritis in Dogs

When a dog is overweight, they are at a higher risk of developing this condition. Overweight dogs put stress and tension on their joints. As a result, they may develop premature degenerative diseases. Another culprit that causes this type of arthritis is any traumatic injury, which can happen at any stage of a dog’s life. Car accidents are the top source of bone trauma that could result in cartilage damage. Other causes of joint problems for dogs besides osteoarthritis include systemic lupus erythematosus (when the body attacks its tissues and organs) and Lyme disease as well as genetic conditions including hip and elbow dysplasia (abnormal development that occurs mostly in large dogs).


Here are a few of the many treatments that we offer and a brief explanation of them. 

  1. Adequan Injections: One of our expert veterinarians injects Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG) into the dog’s body to relieve pain and discomfort. It is the only FDA approved product of its type. 
  2. Hydrotherapy (an underwater treadmill): Hereford Animal Rehabilitation and Therapy (HART), a division of MCAH, provides a heated, underwater treadmill that allows an arthritic dog to exercise without as much pain. The resistance of the water helps improve muscle strength while the buoyancy prevents too much strain on the joints. 
  3. Laser Treatment: Cold laser therapy enhances the speed, quality, and tensile strength of tissue repair. It also resolves inflammation and relieves pain. HART takes care of this treatment, as well.  
  4. Stem Cell Therapy: Our expert veterinarians collect stem cells from your dog’s fat through a minimally-invasive procedure. To learn more, click here.

To learn more about our treatments and HART, click here


  • Keep your dog on a healthy diet (we can plan a specialized diet for your dog) 
  • Train your dog to stay on their leash (helps your dog to stay away from cars)
  • Make sure that you have a fenced-in yard (prevents car exposure as well)
  • Ask us about our massage, acupuncture, and cold laser therapy
  • Buy a padded bed for your canine companion
  • Purchase no-skid rugs

Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!

Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!

This entry was posted on Friday, March 6th, 2020 at 1:27 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.