The word arthritis means inflammation of the joints. There are many types of arthritis with many different causes.
The most common arthritic problems we see in pets can be classified as degenerative joint disease (DJD.) This is the result of wear and tear over time.
Almost everyone, human or animal, will experience some level of DJD as they age. If a pet has an abnormality in a joint (hip dysplasia, previous fracture, etc.) then they will be more likely to experience DJD in that joint.
DJD starts out as inflammation that most pets can tolerate. As time goes on, cartilage and joint fluid begins to degenerate and this causes more inflammation and some level of joint instability. The body produces extra bone in an attempt to stabilize the joint and we can see these boney changes on x-rays.
Arthritic joints hurt and lose range of motion. We see this as stiffness and decreased desire to exercise. Animals may be slow to rise, hesitant to jump into the car or onto the couch, reluctant to go on walks or completely immobile.
Much can be done to help these animals. Pain control is one of the hottest topics in veterinary medicine. Physical therapy, medications, dietary supplements, weight loss, acupuncture and even surgery may provide pain relief and help slow disease progression.
Come by and talk to one of our doctors about preventing arthritic pain in your pets. We are open M-F 7:30-6, Sat 9-3 and Mondays until 8 p.m.
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