Experienced in complex veterinary surgical procedures, Steven Leshem, DVM, currently practices with Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut in West Hartford. A member in good standing of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Steven Leshem regularly treats dogs with orthopedic problems.

Active dogs use their joints vigorously as they run, jump, play, and go for walks. As dogs age, the chances increase that their joints will sustain damage. Common joint problems in dogs include tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Some dogs also are prone to developmental problems, such as elbow or hip dysplasia, which also cause pain.

Your dog may have an injury or age-related joint degeneration if he or she seems less active and playful than usual. Difficulty doing routine activities, like climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car, is another sign that the dog may have a joint condition that merits examination by a vet. Once a dog starts showing overt signs, such as favoring a limb or limping, he or she is likely in a great deal of pain. See your veterinarian right away so that the animal can be evaluated and treated.