Arthritis Average Cost

From 326 quotes ranging from $200 - 2,500

Average Cost


First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What are Arthritis?

Studies show that one in five dogs suffer from arthritis. As a pet owner, you may feel that your aging dog is slowing down and becoming less active due to maturity. In fact, he may be experiencing joint pain. Arthritis is a chronic illness and can become debilitating. There are many ways to approach relieving your dog of arthritic pain. As pet owners, we must remember that canines are brave creatures who will often mask their discomfort. We have to be proactive, and take the initiative in caring for a dog who may have arthritis.

Arthritis is the most common source of pain for our canine friends as they age, but the condition can also be seen in very young dogs. A degenerative disease, arthritis most often results from everyday wear and tear on the joints. In order to preserve your pet’s quality of life, visit the veterinarian to receive advice and arthritis therapy.

Book First Walk Free!

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

The signs of arthritis in your dog may be very subtle. The most common indications are listed here.

  • Lameness and stiffness (especially after rest)
  • Slow gait
  • Difficulty in rising from rest
  • Lethargy and tendency to sleep more
  • Urinating indoors
  • Muscle atrophy (wasting away)
  • Swelling or heat may be evident
  • Pain, which may be vocalized when touched
  • Licking of joints
  • Gain or loss of weight
  • Depression
  • Nervous or aggressive behavior
  • Reluctance to jump, or to be active

There are five types of arthritis in dogs, with two primary forms being most common.

  • Degenerative Joint Disease
    • This is also known as osteoarthritis
    • The condition occurs when there is friction between the bones because of the erosion of cushioning cartilage
    • Purebred dogs are known to have an increased tendency for DJD (for example hip dysplasia in German Shepherd)
    • Bone spurs can develop
  • Inflammatory Joint Disease
    • This can be caused by an infection
    • Single and multiple joints can be involved
    • It can also be the result of an inherited immune system flaw

Metabolic (bleeding into joints), crystalloid (crystals form in the joints), and neoplastic (joint cancer) are much more rare.

Causes of Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis can be very uncomfortable for your pet. With a variety of causes for the condition, you should always consult the veterinarian with concerns of lameness or behavioral changes in your dog.

  • Cartilage deficits
  • Previous injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament
  • Poor nutrition
  • Trauma after a car accident, penetration of joint by a sharp object, or bite
  • Infection in the joint
  • Stresses on the joint, such as those that may occur with a working dog
  • Disruption of cartilage, bone, synovial membranes, and ligaments that support a joint
  • Bacteria spread through the blood supply
  • Fungus
  • Tick-borne disease
  • Cartilage and lubricating fluid between the joints is damaged
  • Congenital joint disorders like elbow dysplasia
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s disease

Diagnosis of Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis may be hard to detect at home because your furry family member can hide his pain and discomfort so well. The veterinarian has the knowledge and expertise to diagnose the problem, in addition to identifying any underlying disease processes that may be present.

The visit to the clinic will start with a physical exam. The veterinarian will look for the following signs of arthritis.

  • Crepitus (grinding of joint)
  • Abnormal bone formation or a roughness to the bone
  • Joint pain, tenderness, and swelling
  • Poor range of motion, possibly accompanied by pain
  • Muscle atrophy

A radiograph, done while your dog is under general anesthetic, can confirm arthritis. It must be noted that at times, contrast dye should be injected into the joint and then x-rayed for the best visual perspective.

Another useful diagnostic tool is the force plate analysis. In this test, a mat that has plate sensors is placed on the floor. Hooked up to a computer, the mat can analyze the force on each plate as the dog walks across it.

Aspiration of the joint fluid could be done to determine of the arthritis is of the degenerative or inflammatory type.

Treatment of Arthritis in Dogs

The treatment for arthritis will involve a complete lifestyle change for your dog. Diet and exercise will be key in the maintenance of a good quality of life.

In the meantime, your veterinarian may start the treatment with a prescription for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These will reduce pain and inflammation. An injectable medication, such as cortisone, could be recommended to reduce swelling and pain. Visco-supplementation is the action of injecting a gel-like substance into the joint to lubricate the cartilage, which then improves flexibility, and thus, lessens pain. Steroids are another option that the veterinarian could discuss. Glycosaminoglycans are often used as an aid for reducing the breakdown of cartilage.

Physiotherapy may be suggested to decrease scar tissue, improve mobility, and reduce pain. Studies have shown physiotherapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy have benefits for our canine friends suffering from arthritis.

Water therapy, known as hydrotherapy, involves treadmill work while the body is underwater. Putting no pressure on the joints and ligaments, the increased movement and the mobility achieved is wonderful for your pet.

Additional treatment plans that might be discussed are acupuncture, ultrasound therapy, laser therapy, magnetic therapy, and stem cell therapy. The veterinarian will have her preferred choice of protocol, and can advise you on which treatment will be the most effective to get your dog back to a more comfortable day to day existence.

Surgery is sometimes required, for instance in the case of a torn ligament. An arthroscopy may be done to clear up cartilage from between the joints. Of course, a primary treatment for arthritis will be identifying if there is an underlying disease which needs to be addressed along with the joint pain.

Recovery of Arthritis in Dogs

Dietary management will be an important part of the arthritic care for your pet. Making sure that your canine family member is at a healthy weight for his bone structure is imperative. Excess weight will put unnecessary strain on the joints. Purchase food as recommended by the veterinarian; this will most likely be a food that has additional Omega 3 fats added.

Moderate exercise will help to reduce the pain that your dog is feeling. Increased mobility is paramount to pain resolution as the muscles supporting the joints will become more supple, and give greater support. This will, in turn, prevent further joint damage also. It must be noted that small increments of 15 to 20 minutes of exercise are recommended over extended sessions. Swimming is an excellent nonweight bearing activity for your dog. Just as important as exercise is assuring that your dog also enjoys significant rest periods each day, in an atmosphere conducive to healing. A warm, soft bed should always be available, and if needed, provide ramps for access in and out of your vehicle or as an alternative to stairs.

The veterinarian may ask you to bring your dog to the clinic every six months or so, in order to do blood tests. Monitoring of the efficacy of the medications, in addition to any side effects that may occur, is part and parcel of arthritis management. If the veterinary care team has a schedule of therapies to be administered, like water or laser therapy, be certain to attend all appointments. This will be the best way to see improvement in your beloved pet’s quality of life.

Arthritis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Border Collie
5 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

We’re not sure what’s causing our dog to limp occasionally on one back leg, more apparent after she’s woken up, runs and walks fine normally and wouldn’t notice anything but less weight and ‘meat’ on on her back half and pelvis area, and when jumping up can sometimes look like a slight struggle to get her back legs up. Not a huge fan of area being touched but will tolerate

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Misha, I can't determine what might be going on with her, but it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine her, determine what might be going on, take x-rays if needed, and recommend any treatment that she might need to be comfortable. It is important to address this sooner rather than later, as you want to try and preserve as much muscle as possible in her hind end, and if she isn't using them, they will atrophy.

Add a comment to Misha's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Blue Heeler
18 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Medication Used


We have a desexed female Australian Blue Heeler/Short Haired German Pointer Dog Mixed breed of 18 months of age and she has started lifting her back right leg and walking on three legs. She sleeps inside but we are having a very cold winter here in Queensland at the moment and it was minus 6 degree celsius overnight. This only lasts for a couple of meters and then she is back on all fours.
She is on a special Eukanuba Diet as she has been allergic to fresh meat and bones. Apart from that she is a delightful happy little dog and I would appreciate your advice.
I am worried she has hip dysplasia.
The only other thing I can think of is that she has picked up a burr from the native grasses on our property. Thank you, Linda

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
It is possible that Ellie has something in her foot that is bothering her, or that she has larger problems. Since I cannot examine her or look at her foot or leg, it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian. They'll be able to give her a good examination, see if there is anything obvious causing this problem, and take x-rays if they are needed. I hope that this is something very simple and easy to fix for her!

Add a comment to Ellie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


My dog has never been seen by a vet before. She was found at an abandoned house and we took her in but never thought to take her to the vet. For the past couple of months, whenever she lays down for a period of time, she has difficulty getting up. At first we paid no attention to the situation because she would walk it off and be fine but with time, it has gotten worse and she is even reluctant to jumping on the bed and she drags her hind leg quite often. I don't know what's wrong or what to do. Please help me

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
It is impossible to say what the specific cause is without examining Hazel and possibly taking an x-ray or two; but this may be caused by intervertebral disk disease, trauma, congenital abnormalities, hip disorders among other causes. I would strongly recommend you visit a Veterinarian for an examination and to get Hazel vaccinated against infectious diseases. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Hazel, people like you should never be allowed to have an animal. Only a moron would never take a dog to a vet. You’re a sad excuse for a pet owner.

Add a comment to Hazel's experience

Was this experience helpful?

11 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

change in behavior
Walking tenderly

We recently moved and our dog started acting strange. We went from carpet to hardwood floors, and at one point she hit her back on our coffee table. She has her good days and bad days.. When she’s good she’s playful and running around, but when she’s having a bad day she’s very mopey, lethargic, and walks with her back arched. She seems to have a hard time getting comfortable. The weather does seem to be a factor, especially when it changes quickly. She’s eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom fine. We’re not sure what to do to help and we want to do what we can until we can afford the vet visit.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Until you can have Bug seen by a veterinarian, there really isn't anything that you can do at home other than keep her quiet and confined, and limit her exercise. She may have a back or neck injury that needs treatment, and back and neck pain can be quite painful. Many clinics to offer a 'free first exam' that would allow her to be seen and get started on treatment before her injury becomes worse. I hope that she is okay.

Add a comment to Bug's experience

Was this experience helpful?

8 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Doesn't walk or get up
Joint pain

I took my Bella to the vet a week ago because I she would no longer get up out of bed. She cried out when being touched and I worried that she might have had a slipped disc (because she has had these issues before). Once at the vet they took her X-rays and found no fractures or broken bones. The doctor informed me that the problem could be arthritis and prescribed Bella some medication. It has been a week now and she still does not get out of bed. I am worried that arthritis may not be the problem.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Without examining Bell and seeing some x-rays (possibly myelography) I cannot say what the specific cause is; if you are seeing no improvement you should return to your Veterinarian for an examination (or visit another Veterinarian) to determine if there is another cause of the symptoms she is displaying. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Bell's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Fox Terrier
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Yelping when moving
Pain in hind area

I have a 12 year old fox terrier who has recently shown signs of arthritis and with a recent cold snap is clearly in pain again. Last vet visit we were given painkillers and told to come back if there were more issues. I have put him back on the painkillers and will return to the vet shortly as she wants to see him when symptoms are not severe. That's fine.
He was on steriods for allergies for years until I found a diet that enabled me to stop them. He also showed early signs of cushings and has a heart murmur which isn't medicated. What treatment would we realistically be looking at seeing how it's high risk to sedate for xrays etc and there is all this history? And what's the best way to make him comfortable now?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
If Jack responded to the pain medications and seemed more comfortable, that may be what he needs, on a long term basis. Most veterinarians would be fine to treat him with the pan medications, given his history and response to therapy. Without knowing more about him, I'm not sure what is the best for him, but that is something that you can discuss with your veterinarian.

Add a comment to Jack's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Labrador Retriever
13 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Joint pain
joint pain increase sleep

My 13 year old lab mix rescue started having joint pain and what looks like arthritis symptoms. People always comment on how young he still looks, he's been in great physical shape for the last 6 years, showing slight signs of aging just in slower pay and more sleeping. The pain seems to come on out of nowhere, we are in NYC and the weather has been very very cold. He is eating and still is good spirits, but when he gets up from sleeping or lying down he has trouble walking and lays back down. I gave him tylenol yesterday hoping to help with the pain and made him a homemade tumeric paste that I added to his food this morning. I plan to make an appt with the vet for this weekend. Any tips? Suggestions? It is unbearable to see him in pain!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It is fairly common as dogs age for them to show signs of arthritis pain. It is good that you are taking him to your veterinarian, as they will be able to examine him, diagnose the reason for him pain, and get him some safe medication for pain. Tylenol can be quite toxic in dogs, and may interfere with the medication that he might be able to take long term for his pain, so it would be best not to give him any more of that. They should be able to make him more comfortable.

Add a comment to Buster's experience

Was this experience helpful?