Whippet Arthritis: A Guide To Whippet Joint Problems

Whippets are a sighthound breed, meaning they hunt by sight instead of scent. Their spectacular speed makes them the fastest dogs in canine history – capable of reaching speeds up to 48 kilometers per hour!

Whippets are elegant and athletic, with long legs and powerful muscles through their thighs.

They have very fine bones, which means whippets are particularly susceptible to limp conditions that won’t go away or problems that arise from low-impact exercise.

Whippet arthritis is quite common in whippets as they age. By the time your dog reaches seven years old, you could be looking at serious joint problems if he/she has not been diagnosed yet. Even though it may not be arthritic at this stage.

What Is Arthritis In Whippets?

Whippet arthritis is the inflammation of the joints, which causes pain and stiffness. Veterinary medicine recognises three stages.

Stage 1

The first stage of whippet arthritis is characterised by the slow development of small changes in your dog’s gait (the way he walks).

You may notice your dog hesitating to run or climb stairs, but he’ll still be able to maintain his normal activities with exercise and rest.

At this early stage, painkillers can help control any discomfort, but there are no drugs for slowing down the progression of the disease itself.

Stage 2

At this second stage, your whippet will need medication plus extra rest to ensure he doesn’t over-exert himself. Whippets usually show signs of arthritis in their shoulders and knees during this stage.

It’s also common for whippets to lose weight at the beginning of this stage, as they become less active.

Stage 3

At this final stage of whippet arthritis, your dog will have trouble climbing stairs or even getting up. He may suffer from significant pain, particularly when trying to move around.

This makes it difficult for him to maintain his normal activities without some sort of assistance.

If your whippet is suffering from severe pain that does not respond to medication or rest he will begin to show signs that are commonly associated with old age such as slowing down during walks, sleeping more often, and losing interest in playing games.

However, if these symptoms do appear you should take them seriously as this could mean that your whippet has developed an arthritic condition that could get progressively worse over time.

This may lead to increased stiffness, his joints becoming increasingly painful and he may have trouble maintaining even the most basic of movement.

Whippets are susceptible to arthritis due to their bodies being particularly light for their size compared to other dog breeds, which can result in strain being put on all of their limbs.

This makes it more likely for dogs who are prone to arthritis to have problems with their bones too.

If you notice any changes in the way your whippet walks or acts then make sure you take him for a check-up with a vet straight away as these could be signs that he is suffering from joint pain and must be diagnosed.

Do Whippets Get Arthritis?

Some whippets have been found to have a predisposition to rapid, sometimes crippling joint deterioration due to arthritis.

This form of arthritis is called canine hip dysplasia/luxating patellas/juvenile elbow dysplasia in the veterinary literature.

Whippet arthritis can affect multiple joints including hips, elbows, and shoulders.

This is why it is very important to buy from a reputable breeder who does OFA or PennHip certification on their breeding dogs.

It is not clear exactly why some whippets develop arthritis, but it seems that genetics play a large role.

Whippet arthritis can be managed using conventional medicine, but it cannot be cured.

Causes Of Arthritis In Whippets

Whippet arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in whippets. The exact causes are unclear but it appears to have both environmental and genetic components, just like human rheumatoid arthritis.

The environmental component – being overweight can be a significant contributing factor to whippets with joint problems. (This is why it is important for whippets to be kept at a lean weight).

The genetic component – there is some evidence that there are breeds in which the incidence of arthritis appears to be higher, including whippets.

Although not an official diagnosis for HOD, the suspected mode of arthritis transmission within the whippet breed is a mutated MHC class II gene.

This mutated gene has been shown to affect other autoimmune diseases as well, including the dog equivalent of rheumatoid arthritis in humans.

There is also some evidence that nutrition plays a large role in whippets with arthritis, as the rate of arthritis increases in dogs fed primarily commercial foods.

How Old Are Whippets When They Typically Experience Arthritis?

Whippets of all ages can experience arthritis. However, it is usually seen in older whippets and especially those that weigh less than 45 pounds or more than 55 pounds.

Whippet arthritis can first present between 8 – 12 weeks of age and it tends to be progressive, however, this does vary and largely depends on the individual dog.

Even though whippets of all ages can develop arthritis, they are not considered to be a dog breed at high risk from arthritic conditions.

If your whippet is diagnosed with arthritis early enough then changes can be made to their diets and lifestyle that will help them feel better.

Your whippet can even grow out of the condition if it is caught early on, so it is important to get your dog checked by a vet if they are showing signs of discomfort.

How To Treat Whippet Arthritis

You need to start by making sure that your whippet is eating a healthy and nutritious diet. This will mean that his body can produce enough natural oils for lubricating his joints and keeping them in good condition.

However, there are specific whippets arthritis treatments you can use which may include things like:

– Changing the dog’s diet to create an ‘arthritis diet’ (such as including peas or lactic acid). You should speak with your vet before doing this to make sure it isn’t too drastic of a change.

– Giving your whippet glucosamine supplements on a daily basis. Glucosamine produces protein molecules that help cushion the joints between bones, helping reduce. There are also some prescription medications that you can ask your vet about, such as Adequan or Rimadyl.

– If the whippet arthritis is bad enough that it’s limiting his movement, you can consider surgery for it. Joint replacement surgery can be an option to help reduce pain and increase mobility to give your whippet a higher quality of life after being diagnosed with arthritis

More On Whippet Arthritis

Whippets, like all dogs and most living creatures, can indeed get arthritis.

Arthritis in whippets is not at all uncommon and it’s more so fairly easy to spot in whippets than other breeds because the whippet arthritic condition is much more severe.

Many things can cause arthritis in whippets, but one of the most common causes is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is when there are abnormalities with the hips or leg sockets that show up during an X-ray test conducted by your vet.

Whippet arthritis often involves pain in their hind legs – this makes sense since they’re being affected by hip dysplasia that’s why they have difficulty using their back legs without feeling pain.

Preventing Whippet Arthritis

You can help prevent whippet arthritis by making sure your whippet is kept in the optimal weight range, not overfed with treats, and given lots of exercise.

This is crucial as it allows your whippet to live a full life without pain.

This is the main cause of whippet arthritis and it is highly thought that overfed whippets are more likely to get arthritis early in their lives.

It has been observed that whippets going through a lot of trauma, such as being hit by a car, or being attacked by another dog, are more likely to suffer from arthritis later on in life.

Most whippets (if not all) will develop joint problems as they age. It is natural for dogs to get arthritis, but it can be mostly prevented with proper care and exercise.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, whippet arthritis can be very painful and can hinder a whippet’s quality of life.

However, with the right treatment and attention on your part, you should see improvement in your whippet’s condition.

I hope this article has helped answer some questions concerning whippet arthritic conditions, if you feel your whippet may be suffering then it’s time for a visit to the vets.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, feel free to stick around and learn more about this amazing breed we all love here at WhippetCentral.

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