Two of the most common joint problems in the Shih Tzu are that of luxating patella and hip dysplasia. Luxating Patella refers to the slipping or dislocation of the knee cap and symptoms include reduced mobility and an inability to place weight on that particular joint. It can lead to pain and inflammation and surgery is often required to help place the joint back into its original position. If left untreated, it can lead to osteoarthritis which can be more difficult to treat and which will lead to permanent changes within the joint. However, in some cases it may slip back into place on its own accord. Arthritis can also be caused by other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, an auto immune condition in which the body mistakenly attacks itself and destroys areas within the joint. Joint problems can also be caused by infection such as with septic arthritis. Dysplasia is a condition in which the joint begins to form abnormally and in which the bones within the joint no longer attach to each other correctly. Similar to arthritis symptoms can include pain and inflammation and an inability to stay mobile. Most of the times, canine hip dysplasia has an effect on both hips. When taking a look at your pet from behind, they may seem stilted or walk with a possible pelvic swing, which is seen most clearly on the side of the hip that is most effected. When your pet attempts to run, it may look as if they are hopping.
Some natural ways to treatment joints problems include weight reduction, as obese dogs have a more challenging time standing up and walking around. Symptoms of hip dysplasia are greatly worsened when the Shih Tzu is overweight. Pet owners should carefully control the amount of food given and the types of food and your veterinarian may also be able to prescribe medications to help control your pet’s weight. Therapies for canine arthritis include the use of NSAIDs or aspirins which have been specifically designed for pets and which can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Supplements which contain natural ingredients such as glucosamine can also have a similar effect to these medications and can reduce inflammation which can also lead to an increased mobility within the joint. Other treatment options include therapy laser, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, and stem cell therapy.
Natural approaches or prescription medications are the first choice of treatment for your Shih Tzu, however, if your pet does not respond to these, or if their joint problems are severe, then your veterinarian may suggest the use of surgery. Types of surgery include hip and joint replacements, or surgery to correct breaks or fractures. Your veterinarian may advise surgery depending on the degree or severity of hip dysplasia.