Bacterial Arthritis in Dogs

Bacterial arthritis in dogs or infectious arthritis (septic arthritis) is infection in the fluid and tissues of a joint usually caused by bacteria. Infective arthritis is an inflammatory arthropathy which can be cultured from the affected joint(s). 

With inflammatory arthritis, the synovium or joint lining becomes inflamed and this can ultimately damage the joint. It is common to have several joints that are affected with an inflammatory arthropathy. 

Bacteria are one of the most common causes of infective arthritis in dogs. However, bacterial arthritis in dogs can resemble many other arthropathies and attempts to achieve a definitive diagnosis by culture of the offending organism are not always successful. 

Bacteria can cause infectious joint disease by tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and by fungal infection. 

Bacterial Arthritis in Dogs

Dogs love Kefir!

Determining bacterial infective arthritis

Arthritis includes a whole family of diseases. Hip dysplasia, for example, is a particular type of arthritis that involve inflammation and erosion of joint cartilage. This makes for an unstable joint and the body’s attempts to stabilize the joint only ends up yielding arthritis. 

Hip dysplasia in dogs starts when the dog is just a puppy. Hip dysplasia essentially refers to a hip that has a poorly fit ball and socket joint. 

The term dysplasia means abnormal growth, thus hip dysplasia means abnormal growth or development of the hips. 

Without the cushioning effect of healthy cartilage, painful nerve endings are hammered. With pain, the joint is used less and becomes stiff and losses it's range of motion. 

Tacky inflammatory secretions and toxins are released into the joint leading to further destruction. 

Other factors that contribute to dog arthritis are genetics, old injuries, diet, cell oxidation, bacterial invasion, age, and obesity. 

You might be surprised to know that the number one cause of bacterial entry into the blood is through gum disease. 

Gum disease is one of the most common pet health problems in dogs and cats. 

Over 80% of dogs over three years old have some form of periodontal disease. 

Periodontal disease is a series of changes that are associated with the inflammation and loss of the deep supporting structures of teeth. 

Because of the connection between bacterial arthritis in dogs and periodontal disease, check your dog’s teeth and gums regularly for signs of gum disease. 

Numerous factors play a role in the formation of plaque, tartar, and the development of periodontal disease. 

These include...

  • Age and general health status

  • Mouth environment

  • Diet and chewing behavior

  • Grooming habits

  • Breed, genetics, and tooth alignment

  • Home care

Gum inflammation allows bacteria to more easily access our blood stream. 

Once in our blood, some of the bacteria survive our defense mechanisms and are able to establish destructive colonies in different parts of our body. Bacteria does especially well in or on our heart valves, liver, and joints. 

Bacteria invasion may also be involved in the sequence of events leading to auto-immune inflammation of our joints. So it's a good idea to listen to your vet when they recommend dentistry. 

Symptoms of Bacterial Arthritis in Dogs

Pretty much all the symptoms revolve around pain and stiffness of the joints. 

Often one joint will be worse than others, so your pet will be lame on one leg. Or lame on those days when it's cold or damp or after an activity. 

Another similar symptom of bacterial arthritis in dogs or a symptom of arthritis in general is what vets call "Monday Morning Disease". This is where your dog was active during the weekend when the family was home to play. 

Then comes Monday morning and the dog can hardly move without obvious pain and stiffness. 

Vaccines and Bacterial Arthritis in Dogs

In some forms of canine arthritis, it is conceivable that vaccines are the cause. 

Vaccines stimulate inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and have been known to be contaminated with bacteria. Several scientific studies confirm that vaccine components have been found in the bones of arthritic adults and children. 

The Canine Health Concern vaccine survey, involving over 4,000 dogs, showed a positive correlation between vaccination and the onset of arthritis. 

Evening Primrose Oil can be used if the arthritis is autoimmune in nature, as can Echinacea, which is helpful in combating viral and bacterial infections and boosts the immune system. 

› Bacterial Arthritis in Dogs

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