Understanding Inflammation in Canines

Keeping your dog happy and healthy takes a lot. A lot of time, money, and maybe even trips to the vet for specialized care. Since canine health is of the utmost importance when it comes to ensuring your dog lives a good life, it stands to reason that dog owners should educate themselves about the kinds of injuries or conditions that might arise in their canine companions.

Inflammation is one of those seemingly generic conditions that can cause a lot of confusion for pet owners. Not only is inflammation caused by an injury, foreign pathogen, or disease, it can cause diseases and other problems for your dog in turn. We’re here to break the subject down for you.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a physiological response within your dog’s immune system. When you observe a reddened, sore-looking spot on your dog, that’s actually caused by white blood cells working to destroy something that’s not supposed to be there—a pathogen, microbe, or injury—and prevent infection. The spot suggests that your dog’s immune system is doing its job and fighting something, but it also lets you know that you should be monitoring your dog’s overall health and potentially taking a trip to the vet to figure out what might be going on with your pup.

Just about every part of your dog can become inflamed, from skin to joints to organs. There’s also more than one type of inflammation to be aware of when watching for inflammation in dogs. Acute inflammation in your dog can last from one day to a few days. On the other side of the scale, if your dog has chronic inflammation, that means the inflammation is recurring and lasts anywhere from weeks to months. Chronic inflammation can also increase the chance of your dog contracting certain diseases in the future.

Common Signs of Inflammation

It’s a lot easier to spot an inflamed ear canal than an inflamed organ or joint in your dog, but keep an eye out for certain symptoms:

  • Pain—your dog is whimpering or won’t let you touch a certain part of its body
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat concentrated in a certain area
  • Muscle stiffness in a certain area or all over

Common Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation is caused by a large list of culprits, but here are some of the most common ones:

Injury

Dogs love to play, but sometimes get hurt during the fun. A swollen limb or foot is a natural response showing that your dog’s immune system is working correctly to repair the damage. Still, keep an eye on the injury and seek help if it worsens.

Arthritis

An inflammatory disease of the joints, arthritis concerns the destruction of cartilage—the stuff that cushions bones and helps everything move smoothly. When cartilage is damaged, your dog’s joints can become swollen and painful. If left untreated, arthritis can lead to limping and stiffness in your pup.

Infections

Viral, bacterial, or fungal infections can lead to conditions like inflammatory joint disease, a type of arthritis. Some infections will have to be treated with antibiotics.

Ticks

If a tick attaches to your dog’s skin, its bite alone can cause inflammation around the area. Ticks can also spread illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Not only will these diseases cause inflammation, they can bring a host of other symptoms like fever, lameness, and paralysis.

How to Help Your Canine

Inflammation is treatable; your dog doesn’t (and shouldn’t) need to suffer. Treatment for an inflamed area will differ depending on what is actually causing the inflammation.

Do a Routine Tick Check

Make sure to check your dog for ticks and other parasites routinely. Ticks can be found in every area of the country, and are particularly active in the spring and summer. If your dog plays outside, particularly near high grass or bushes, a tick can easily latch on and disappear into thick fur.

If your dog has a thick coat that makes it too hard to spot ticks visually, search them out by running your hands through their fur. If you feel a bump, part the hair until you can locate the tick and remove it with tweezers.  

Take a Trip to Your Vet

A vet will be able to pinpoint the location of the inflammation, and from there, figure out what’s causing it. Diagnostic tests may be ordered to determine if any infections or hormone imbalance are playing a role in the inflammation. The vet might perform a few other tests to further investigate the source of inflammation.

Make Moving Easier

Depending on how much discomfort the inflammation is causing your dog, your canine will most likely still want to move around your home, going from water and food bowls to the backyard to a dog bed. To help your dog continue going where it wants to go, make a few adjustments to your home.

If you have tile or wood flooring, consider putting down enough rugs to make a path from room to room. This will give your dog a way to move around the house without slipping and sliding, which might aggravate their already-inflamed areas. Non-skid socks for your dog work similarly to putting rugs down; the goal is to give your dog enough traction to avoid any painful slips.

Help Your Dog Heal with a Supplement

You can also make life easier for your dog by introducing a canine anti-inflammatory herbal supplement like Wapiti Labs’ Recuperate. Formulated for active dogs, the liquid supplement supports the natural healing process, helping to manage discomfort and tissue damage while invigorating the blood. Our Recuperate formula is created with traditional Eastern Medicine in mind, and includes natural ingredients like pseudoginseng root and carthamus flower. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how our Recuperate formula can help your dog’s inflammation.

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