Just like humans, dogs can suffer from arthritis. A new survey suggests that it may be striking them at a younger age.
Related story: Good boy! Dogs know what you’re saying, study suggests
John Sternal of Flexcin International, a pet products manufacturer which conducted the study, said they have reports of it appearing in dogs as young as 4 years old.
“Around 7, 8 years is the time when dogs are most likely going to see this type of joint degeneration,” Sternal said. “It’s not really supposed to be all that common for younger dogs to experience those types of issues.”
The survey also suggests juvenile arthritis seems to be more prevalent in pet store dogs. Sternal said that’s likely due to living conditions in commercial kennels.
“They don’t get any chance to exercise and let their joints develop. That’s probably why these dogs go through early developmental issues, and they feel it throughout the remainder of their years,” Sternal said.
Susan Cosby, CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA, said recent changes in state law may help alleviate that situation.
“The state really has taken a look at the housing conditions for the animals, the type of exercise they get, what size their cages are,” she said. “It’s an issue that I don’t think is going to go away anytime soon. I think we’re always going to want to continue to improve the lives of animals living in commercial breeding situations.”
Despite the tougher regulation of commercial kennels, Cosby said, “the question going forward is whether those laws are going to be enforced and how can we continue to improve upon them as a state.”
The survey included respondents from across the U.S.