Are you Arthritis AWARE? Osteoarthritis (OA) is a young dog disease and is much more common than we previously thought.
Although it is true to say that most dogs are diagnosed later in life, when they start to show obvious outward clinical signs, these are likely to be the tip of the iceberg as many younger dogs affected with early OA are going undetected and potentially suffering in silence.
Therefore, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK is on a mission to spark more conversations about arthritis in dogs.
A recent screening study found that 38 percent of dogs over the age of one had osteoarthritic pain, but only half of these dogs were presented for lameness or stiffness.
Another recent study highlighted the relevance of osteoarthritis in young dogs (under four years of age) with 40 percent showing radiographic osteoarthritis, of which about one in two showed clinical signs.
Geoffrey Guyot, pain and inflammation franchise lead at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, explains: “Clinical signs of early osteoarthritis can be subtle. Some young dogs may present with overt lameness, but many compensate for years and manage to continue to perform their daily activities.
“Common compensations include gait or posture changes to unload the painful joint, which often go unnoticed.”
The aim of the Arthritis AWARE campaign is to give dogs suffering with arthritis a voice and to get audiences to think differently, shifting the perception of osteoarthritis as an old dog disease, to one which could affect dogs of all ages.
Arthritis AWARE bridges the gap between vets and dog owners, making it easier for owners to spot the early signs and initiate conversations about the condition.
“We hope the Arthritis AWARE campaign will raise awareness of early OA among owners to create more opportunities for you to diagnose and treat dogs with arthritis and improve their outcome.
“We encourage vet practices to join us on the journey so we can help improve dogs’ wellbeing together,” Geoffrey adds.
The multi-channel initiative is supported by presence in veterinary and dog owner press, dedicated social media activities, and a knowledge hub aimed at dog owners.
Vet practices can help spread the word by downloading the Arthritis AWARE campaign pack which includes a waiting room video, a poster, owner-facing leaflets, and social media assets.
To find out more and get involved, it’s easy! Veterinary practices can visit the website or contact their Boehringer Ingelheim Territory Manager.