Do Lhasa Apso’s Suffer From Arthritis? The Signs To Look For

Many humans as they reach their senior years become prone to suffer from osteoarthritis. A health problem that becomes painful and in some cases making daily activities almost impossible. I suffer to a small degree and realize that my Lhasa is also suffering now.

Arthritis in Lhasa Apsos manifests with age. Your Lhasas’s cartilage is lubricated with a small amount of fluid. When this cartilage, which acts as a cushion, becomes worn away their joint bones rub together, resulting in friction and pain.

The rubbing together will cause new bone growth creating more pain. Although not visible on Lucky, I can see on my own hands, very deformed joints as the new bone has grown, to the extent my right thumb has become immobile now.

Early Signs

Personally, I started to feel slight discomfort in my hands, and now this has progressed to other areas. Lucky, my Lhasa, is 18 years old and is suffering from Arthritis. I noticed the early signs when I would sometimes see him limp from time to time.

As time progressed this became more noticeable. Sometimes he would give out a small groan in these early stages. I also saw his walking changed slightly, with a hind leg swinging outwards, not in a straight movement.

If your Lhasa loves riding in the car they may have jumped in, just like mine used to. But this was another sign I noticed as he found it increasingly difficult to jump up. I would have to lift him into the car from then on.

Naturally, as Luckys Arthritis progressed he has become less active, resulting in a reduced muscle mass. With less exercise you need to be careful your Lhasa does not become overweight. If you are not sure if your Lhasa is becoming obese this link leads to a post detailing the signs to look out for.

As the Arthritis progresses your pet will cry or give out soft moans especially when you touch them or try lifting them. Even when going to lay down Lucky gives out small groans now, I feel so sorry for him.
Lucky before Arthritis


Symptoms also include.

  • Becoming grumpy
  • Stiffness when rising
  • Reluctance to do any exercise
  • Eating less
  • Gaining extra pounds
  • Constant licking of Joints

As a Lhasa owner, you should seek your veterinarian’s advice. They will perform various acts, including Xrays and a body inspection to ascertain which joints are arthritic.

The veterinarian may also carry out blood tests and a sample of the liquid in the affected joints to determine if there are any other health conditions that arthritis could be causing. Acting on their diagnostic you can help relieve some of your dog’s pain and suffering.

One of the symptoms above I am noticing recently is the saliva stains as Lucky licks his rear feet/legs.

Saliva Stains on Feet


Arthritis is caused by a change or damage to the cartilage, having an accident like pulling a ligament can create instability in a particular member. Lucky has jumped down from heights where I have seen him spread-eagled on the floor in his younger days, how he never damaged his joints amazes me.

Your pet’s environment can also play a part in bringing on early arthritis. If your region is constantly wet or humid you may see your Lhasa showing these early signs listed above.

Having broken bones in the past, abnormal cartilage growth are contributing factors in arthritis. These can cause early arthritic signs in older Lhasas.

Natural Supplement Remedies

Acting on your veterinarians’ results you can naturally help relieve a certain amount of your dog’s pain and suffering.

These soft chewy tablets I have chosen contain CM8. Cetyl Myristoleate (CM8) is a natural ingredient that is used in these chews. Lubricating the joints and reducing swelling. Being a natural product you should allow some time for the CM8 to become absorbed into your Lhasas system.

Do not start to feel sorry and start giving your Lhasa lots of treats. Controlling their weight regularly is so important. Reducing those extra pounds on their joints will alleviate some of their sufferings.

Selecting the correct food to help maintain the correct weight should become an important part of your dog parent routine. As your Lhasa becomes older they will dispense less energy and need a diet to match.

This dietary food for small dogs would be just fine for your Lhasa Apso. Manufactured in the USA with natural ingredients and recommended by veterinarians. It is easy to digest, healthy for heart and kidneys with its balanced minerals and having a high protein level to keep those muscles strong and lean.

Tip; If your Lhasa does not like to stand on the scales. Weigh yourself first, pick up your Lhasa, then reweigh both of you together, Subtract your first weight from this total. Voila, you now have the weight of your Lhasa

Activity for your Lhasa is very important as they age, try to keep them mobile and active for as long as possible. Lucky is reluctant to do any activity now, so I carry him outside for his needs, far enough from the home that he has to walk to return home again. Today this is the only form of movement his little body gets.


Medication can help reduce cartilage destruction, these are available from your veterinarian. There are two types of arthritis, acute, and progressive. You can help delay the effects and help reduce your pet’s suffering by using appropriate medications.

Drugs used today for arthritis come in three forms.

Supplements ( covered above)

Protectors; The role of protectors is to reduce the damage, this is achieved with a composition made from, pentosan polysulfate, polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid. Helping to reduce cartilage destruction and inflammation.

NSAIDs Although having side effects, do help keep inflammation at bay. This maybe your veterinarian’s first option, but because of the long term side effects they will be changed before your dog’s health deteriorates.

As animal medication advances regular visits and controls will guarantee your dog has the best care possible.

Credit: Thanks to The Kennel Club where I was able to source some of the content of this post.

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