Arthritis is a complex condition involving inflammation of joints.
There are many causes of arthritis in pets. In most cases, the degree
of arthritis is related to the age of the animal.
most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA) which is also
known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). This can be primary,
the cause of which is unknown and secondary, following
conditions involving joint instability leading to damage of the
subchondral bone that line the joints. Some common causes of DJD
include hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament rupture, and so
causes include joint infection, often as the result of bites or
injuries or it may follow joint
trauma and damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune mediated, erosive, inflammatory
condition. Cartilage and bone are eroded within affected joints and
the condition can progress to complete joint fixation, (ankylosis). It
may affect single joints or multiple joints may be involved (polyarthritis).
In certain dog breeds Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) factors can be
detected with blood tests.
types of immune mediated arthritis can be non-erosive, such as
arthritis that is associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE).
SLE is often accompanied by other clinical signs in addition to the
Infective or septic arthritis can be caused by a variety of
microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Septic arthritis
normally only affects a single joint and the condition results in
swelling, fever, heat and pain in the joint. Before long your pet is
likely to stop eating and become depressed.
How do we treat
Treatment will depend on the cause of arthritis. Immune mediated and
rheumatoid arthritis are usually treated with high doses of
corticosteroids which often lead to a dramatic response. The
maintenance of these conditions often involves the long-term use of
corticosteroids and other drugs such as immunosuppressive or cytotoxic
treatment of septic arthritis involves determining the type of
microorganism involved and its antibiotic sensitivity. Antibiotics are
usually administered for a minimum of a month and analgesics are also
necessary to combat pain and inflammation.
Analgesics are the most common form of treatment for osteoarthritis.
It is important to select these medications with care since some dogs
are more sensitive than others to the potential side-effects of
analgesics. The most common side-effects of analgesics include
decreased appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Most pets will have
pre-medication blood tests to make sure that they can safely
metabolize and excrete the medication and then periodic blood tests to
ensure continued safe usage. If you have any concerns following the
administration of any medication we have prescribed, please
discontinue them and contact us immediately.