Disorder - ArthritisOrgan Systems Involved
Noninflammatory Joint Disease
Degenerative Joint Disease
A condition of progressive joint deterioration, causing thinning of the cartilage within the joint.
Arthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints. It causes thinning of the cartilage, escape of the lubricating joint fluid and inflammation of tissues around the joint. A history of stiffness after rest usually indicates that the animal is suffering joint disease. Arthritis is usually associated with the ageing dog that has temporary stiffness after rest, difficulty with stairs and reluctance to jump. The dog may be continually lame, lameness being a sign of pain in the affected area, may circle hesitantly before lying down and may be restless at night. These signs will usually be more apparent in cold weather. The dog will be less able to exercise, though may still become excited, and be active for shorter periods. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to arthritis as they must bear increased strain on their joints, contributing to cartilage degeneration. Joints, (particularly in the legs), are likely to swell, heat up, have a lesser range of movement and could be painful to manipulate, and this may induce aggression in some individuals. The dog will have periods of inactivity and this causes muscle wastage from lack of exercise. It is important to encourage regular, but gentle exercise to maintain muscle tone and reduce stiffness, but remain aware that excessive exercise will cause sudden, severe pain in arthritic dogs.
Dogs at Risk
Ageing dogs, particularly if overweight.
Canine Rheumatoid Arthritis
Further Reference Material [OMIA Number]