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Managing Your Dog's Degenerative Joint Disease
 
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Arthritis Pain in Dogs and Cats

  
 

What Is Arthritis?


Arthritis means inflammation of the joint. The most common arthritis in dogs and cats is osteoarthritis (OA), named because the problem is caused by the bones (osteo). Pet arthritis (also known as feline arthritis or canine arthritis) can also be caused by infection (septic arthritis or bacterial arthritis in dogs) or by the body attacking itself in an immune system malfunction (rheumatoid arthritis).

With pet osteoarthritis, bones are damaged because cartilage has given way. Cartilage is there to act as a cushion preventing bone from hitting bone as the joint moves. If the cartilage dries, roughens, or chips, bare bones are exposed. The exposed bone flattens and loses resilience so the joint no longer moves smoothly; it jerks and creaks. In response, the body sends white blood cells to the joint, but instead of repairing damage, the white blood cells release enzymes and free radicals that make things worse. The synovial fluid bathing the joint loses viscosity because it is damaged by the white blood cells' enzymes. As the synovial fluid thins, it's no longer able to resist joint compression or provide lubrication. Eventually, even the capsule that surrounds the joint inflames. The pet then has painful arthritis.
  
Arthritis is the most common skeletal disease of dogs
  
Key Facts of Arthritis Pain in Dogs and Cats
  • Over 90% of geriatric cats have arthritis
  • Over 12 million cats in the US have arthritis
  • 1 out of every 5 dogs over the age of 7 has arthritis
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    Which Pets Are Most at Risk for Developing Arthritis?


    Most dogs in their senior years have arthritis. In fact, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common skeletal disease of dogs. Working, athletic, obese dogs-and those with diabetes or Cushing's disease-are especially prone. Trauma and injury, hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia also predispose pets to arthritis. Cats get arthritis too, and estimates are that 12 million cats in the US (20% of cats) have feline arthritis.

    Dog Breeds Predisposed to Arthritis

    American Bulldog
    American Staffordshire Terrier
    Beagle
    Bernese Mountain Dog
    Bloodhound
    Bouvier des Flandres
    Boykin Spaniel
    Briard
    Brittany
    Bulldog
    Bullmastiff
    Chesapeake Bay Retriever
    Chow Chow
    Clumber Spaniel
    Coonhound (Black and Tan)
    Coton de Tuléar
    Curly Coated Retriever
    English Setter
    English Springer Spaniel
    German Shepherd
    Giant Schnauzer
      Golden Retriever
    Gordon Setter
    Irish Water Spaniel
    Kuvasz
    Neapolitan Mastiff
    Newfoundland
    Norwegian Elkhound
    Old English Sheepdog
    Otterhund
    Polish Lowland Sheepdog
    Portuguese Water Dog
    Pudel Pointer
    Pug
    Rottweiler
    Shih Tzu
    Spanish Water Dog
    St. Bernard
    Staffordshire Terrier
    Sussex Spaniel
    Welsh Corgi
    Welsh Springer Spaniel
      

      
     
    Max's Tip: Swimming is often recommended as an alternative exercise for arthritic dogs because of the low impact it places on your dog's joints.  
      

      
    More Information on Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
      
     

       
     
     
       
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