Do Yorkies Have Arthritis?

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Arthritis is a condition that affects dogs all across the board. It, however, is more common in large dog breeds, elderly dogs, and those with predisposing genetic factors such as luxating patella and hip dysplasia. Let me look into how you can tell whether or not Yorkies have arthritis.

Do Yorkies Have Arthritis?

You can tell whether or not your Yorkie has arthritis by taking it to a vet for a physical exam. During the physical exam, the vet will check the presence of joint pain accompanied by blood work and X-rays to rule out other conditions, such as bone cancer, and let you know if your furry friend has arthritis.

A brown and black Yorkshire terrier sitting on the throw pillow on the brown wooden chair

Identifying early signs and symptoms of the onset of arthritis in your dogs is crucial as this will help stop the ailment’s further progression into a severe case. Second, it will allow for early enrolment into a treatment program geared toward recovery. Here are some ways in which you can do the same.

Early Signs of Arthritis in Yorkies

Some signs and symptoms will let you know your dog might have or is developing arthritis. Look out for the following:

  • Difficulty standing up from lying down
  • Struggling to go up the stairs, get out of bed or get on the couch
  • Having a narrow stance in its rear limbs
  • Significant muscle wastage in hind legs
  • Notable limping, trembling, and tenderness while moving about
  • Stiffness, pain, and irritability
  • Loss of appetite loss
  • Inactivity and oversleeping

When you notice any of the above signs, you must take your furry friend to the vet as soon as possible.

Factors That Influence the Development of Arthritis in Yorkies

Here are some reasons why your Yorkie might develop arthritis in its life:

  • Yorkies are genetically predisposed to getting arthritis. This means that sometimes, you can do nothing to prevent the condition from developing
  • Arising developmental issues like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and luxating patella
  • As your dog ages, its bones become weaker and may no longer be able to move around and exercise as before. This constantly puts stress on their joints and can lead to arthritis
  • Diseases such as diabetes, kidney, liver, and heart complications predispose it to arthritis
  • Obesity causes strain on joint muscles, ligaments, and cartilage due to being overweight
  • Rapture of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL)
  • Yorkies are highly active dogs; by nature, their intensive engagement in mobile activities overworks their joints, and they may develop arthritis
A brown and black Yorkshire terrier with a pink ponytail sitting beside her owner on a grass field

Treatment of Arthritis in Yorkies

Various ways have been used to treat arthritis in Yorkies, as there is no cure for this condition. The approaches can be medical or non-medical; your vet will choose the best treatment method for your dog, depending on the cause.

Non-medical Approaches

They include:

  • Weight control– This is done by cutting back on fatty and high-calorie foods accompanied by exercise for obese dogs
  • Environmental mobility support– This entails ramp steps, raised food and water bowls, and literal carrying over obstacles and upstairs. It can be paired with another method for the best results
  • Diet – Omega 3 fatty acids and eicosapentaenoic acid reduce inflammation
  • Physical exercise– This includes moderate walks and swimming that keep joints and muscles active, thus promoting their overall health
  • Natural supplements – Those that contain glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and omega fatty acids are used to ease pain and stiffness symptoms
  • Animal physical rehabilitation therapy entails electric stimulation, underwater treadmills, cold and hot massages, and motion exercises like stretching to relieve pain and promote ligament, tendon, and cartilage health
  • Acupuncture- This technique helps to increase blood flow and pain relief in hip dysplasia and degenerative joint disease

Medical Approaches

It includes professional medical treatments such as:

  • Steroid injections and tablets are excellent in anti-inflammation; however, they have adverse side effects such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
  • Chandroprotectants– This includes FDA-approved adequate that protect joints by inhibiting the enzymes that destroy tissues such as ligaments as the body strives to heal.
  • Surgery– Includes arthroscopic surgery, where a surgeon makes small incisions on affected joints to remove damaged tissue debris. It also includes procedures such as fusing joints and rebuilding damaged parts. Lastly, it may involve works such as replacing damaged joints with artificially generated ones.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds (NSAIDS) -This includes meds such as Rimadyl to ease inflammation and pain. In line with this, follow-up tests are conducted to establish whether or not they have a damaging effect on organs such as kidneys.

In most cases, the medical approaches can be paired with non-medical approaches to get the best results.

Arthritis Prevention Strategies for Your Yorkie

There are some ways in which arthritis can be delayed and prevented later in life while your dog is still young. They include:

  • If you’ve been looking forward to getting a purebred Yorkshire puppy, it is good to ensure you get one from a reputable breeder who should have hip and elbow X-rays taken to rule out dogs with deformed joints before breeding.
  • Don’t overfeed or over-exercise your dog, as this stresses its joints, causing wear and tear of ligaments and tendons over time.
  • Your puppy should avoid sleeping in odd angles and putting needless strain on its joints so you can give it a comfy sleeping area. Your vet can also recommend a good bed for it.
  • A healthy diet with extra calcium and omega-3 fatty acids may also help postpone or prevent arthritis, as this boosts the formation of strong joint tissues.
A brown and black Yorkshire terrier standing on a grass field in the park

Related Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about Yorkies concerning arthritis.

What Supplements Can You Give a Yorkie With Arthritis?

You can give a Yorkie with arthritis supplements such as oral ones that contain methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), glucosamine hydrochloride, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids—eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—and chondroitin sulfate.  They help in improving joint health for dogs.

What Physical Aids Are Useful to a Yorkie With Arthritis?

The physical aids that are useful to a dog with arthritis include Stairs, ramps, slings and harnesses, support wraps,  orthotics, strollers, wheelchairs, non-slip support, elevated feeding stations, and comfortable bedding.


Finding out that your dog is sick can be devastating. However, it is essential that you do not dwell on that and you start looking for treatment for it as soon as possible. This will ensure that the progress is slowed and that it is no longer in pain.