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Joint Disease in Dogs: prevention
April 14, 2015
Joint Disease in Dogs: prevention
3 things to help prevent joint disease
3 Common Mistakes
Mistake # 1: Over-Vaccinating – Especially For Distemper
There are several studies that point to vaccination, and especially distemper vaccination, as a major culprit in causing joint issues in dogs.
The vaccinated dogs in this study were literally destroying their own collagen!
In a 1989 study, Bari et al found anti-collagen complexes in all joint disorders in dogs. They found autoimmunity to collagen in 72.4% of dogs with rheumatoid arthritis, 88% of dogs with infective arthritis and 52% of dogs with osteoarthritis. Dogs with cruciate disease also had increased autoantibody levels. They also had higher levels of anti-collagen antibodies in the synovial fluid (which surrounds joints).
Healthy Collagen Is Important
Collagen is the elastic protein that holds skin together. It also makes up 70% to 90% of our muscles, tendons, ligaments and other joint supporting tissues. When collagen breaks down in the body, the joints become less stable, the muscles and connective tissue loosen and become more brittle, and joint disorders start to occur.
Collagen not only protects joint cartilage, it also protects tendons and ligaments against tears.
So when you understand that vaccination damages collagen, it makes sense to limit your dog’s vaccinations to help her avoid joint disease and injury in the future.
Mistake # 2: Early Spaying Or Neutering
Spay/neuter is always a controversial topic but it’s an important one, because it can have a major effect on your dog’s joint health.
When puppies are spayed or neutered before they’re fully grown, they lose the sex hormones that regulate normal growth.
In each long bone, dogs have a band of cartilage near the joint, known as a growth (epiphyseal) plate. This plate builds bone as your puppy develops and gets larger and taller. Once your puppy reaches maturity, the growth plate closes and your puppy reaches his full height.
There are several studies showing that the risk of joint disease is much higher if your puppy is sterilized before the growth plates close. Growth plates close at different times depending on the size of your dog and in giant breeds can be as late as 2 years old.
Sterilizing your dog too early can mean higher risk of joint diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia, cranial cruciate tears or patellar luxation. Read about studies that show the increased effects of early sterilization on these all-too common joint disorders.
: Ignoring Your Dog’s Gut Health
You’ve probably heard quite a lot about the importance of your dog’s gut health in preventing conditions like food allergies and intolerances or irritable bowel disease. That makes sense … after all, they’re all diseases related to the digestive system.
But did you know that an unhealthy gut can cause inflammation throughout the body and also contribute to joint disease?
So when you see your Golden Retriever start getting stiff and limpy in middle age, you might just chalk it up to arthritis as part of the aging process, especially in a breed that’s predisposed to having joint issues.
But your dog’s arthritis symptoms could just be one of the common signs of Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut can cause many health disorders. Early onset of joint disease can be one of them.
A healthy gut is important, no matter what. So taking steps to improve your dog’s gut health is always a good idea.
So, is joint disease just due to bad luck or bad genes? Not necessarily.
Of course, if you adopt your dog from a shelter or rescue, she’s probably been spayed and vaccinated. But you have control over her future care … including just saying no to that unnecessary distemper vaccine.
And if you’re lucky enough to get your dog as a puppy, her risk of joint disease is not just a matter of fate. Because now you know about three things you can do that can really help reduce that risk!