Friday, June 7, 2013

Veterinary Highlights: Evaluating Dog Arthritis

Force plate analysis to evaluate arthritis pain in dogs is not a new invention. It's a great tool. It involves having a dog walk across a plate, or walk-way, that measures the amount of weight put on by each limb.

It is an objective, high-tech way of evaluating the pain level and response to treatment in arthritic dogs.

But I haven't seen one in a any of our vet's offices, have you?

I would have loved being able to have Jasmine's situation and progress evaluated this way.

However, scientists at the University of Liverpool believe, that the most reliable data can often be gathered from owner observations of their dog's behavior.

Because pain and mobility associated with arthritis can change with recent activity level, medication, and even weather conditions, is the force-plate analysis such a good measure after all?

It only offers a snapshot of a short moment in time. What if your dog is just having an exceptionally bad (or good) day? And what happens when multiple, or even all four limbs are affected?

Could it be that good ol' observation is the answer after all?

Even the best observation, though, is only as good as the record of it. With Jasmine, I learned that early on. Yes, you remember how your dog did today, or even yesterday, but how accurately do you recall last week? Together with Jasmine's vet we developed a detailed chart, which evolved over time to include all information that was relevant to Jasmine's health at the time.

For arthritic dogs, the veterinary scientists at the University of Liverpool developed a new questionnaire that should help quantify the level of disease.

"This record of behavior history, together with clinical assessment, could provide a more detailed understanding of how disease is progressing, and more importantly, how healthy and comfortable the dog is," says Dr. Watton of Liverpool University.

So maybe a low-tech approach can paint a better picture and our observation of our dogs and can be more useful than one would think.

Source article:
New tool to help diagnose canine arthritis


  1. I just learned DeDe has arthritis yesterday. I'm going to check out your other posts on the subject to help me help our vet evaluate her condition.

    1. I did read your article, poor girl, so much pain just from arthritis?

      There are many solutions, depending on bad the situation is. Starting from weight management (Dede seem in a good shape), to physical therapy, massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, supplements, herbs ... to things such as platelet rich plasma therapy, stem cell therapy ...

      Once you have an evaluation of how bad is the problem, than you can see which one of these, or which combinations will work best for DeDe.

      You can email me if you'd like.

  2. Our dog just turned 7 and I can start to notice she doesn't jump up on the couch or sofa as often and the vet said she is starting to have some issues with arthritis.

    Thanks for the article and I look forward to reading the others you have on the site about the subject.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      yes, that is one of the tell signs. There are things that can be done to control both arthritis itself and the resulting pain. Talk to your vet, or you can talk to me as well.

  3. My dog also not jump on table & sofa and i recently call Veterinary team .start treatment of my dog.