Arthritis in dogs is unfortunately all too common. It's usually associated with old age, but according to statistics, about 65% of dogs over 6 years old show signs of this debilitating and painful disease.
Common Areas of Arthritis
There are two basics types of arthritis that effect both people and dogs:
- Osteoarthritis in Dogs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis in Dogs
Regardless of the type, arthritis can be debilitating and painful.
The most obvious symptoms that your dog has joint pain caused by arthritis are limping, and stiffness - especially after laying down for a while.
Basically Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints which occurs when there is interference with the normal structure and function of the joint. Inflammation is the body’s response to trauma, infection or irritation and materialises in redness, warmth, swelling and pain. Canine arthritis can occur in any joint but most commonly develops in the hips, knees and elbows:
Two Types of Osteoarthritis:
- Primary OA which occurs as dogs get older due to natural wear and tear. The cause is usually unknown.
- Secondary OA which occurs because there’s an underlying anatomical problem including developmental disorders such as hip or elbow dysplasia or an injury such as a fracture or a ligament problem. When arthritis is the secondary problem, dogs can be relatively young when they develop it.
With both types of OA there is joint capsule inflammation, joint capsule thickening, joint fluid accumulation, joint swelling and most importantly a break down of cartilage. In the most severe cases, cartilage can wear away leaving bone to rub on bone which makes it very difficult and painful for dogs to move around.
OA is often a slow process and can be well advanced before the joint becomes sore.
How can Red Light Therapy be of benefit for Canine Arthritis?
- Light Therapy increases circulation to the joint by stimulating the formation of new capillaries. This allows more blood supply - hence more oxygen and vital nutrients to reach damaged tissues.
- Light Therapy stimulates vasodilation (through the nitric oxide cascade) which promotes more blood supply to the area.
- Light Therapy stimulates the production of serotonin which helps reduce inflammation.
- Light Therapy increases the activity of the lymphatic system thus promoting a faster elimination of swelling – oedema in tissues.
- Light Therapy reduces the excitability of nervous tissue by stimulating the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain fighting chemicals.
- Light Therapy reportedly stimulates the release of ATP – Adenosine triphosphate. ATP is the major carrier of energy to all cells. Increases in cellular ATP levels allow the cells to function more effectively and get rid of wastes faster
- Light Therapy increases the synthesis of RNA and DNA. This helps damaged cells to be replaced more quickly.
- Light Therapy helps to relax muscles.