Pet Arthritis Facts
Fact: There is a variation in the severity and duration of arthritis symptoms.
Arthritis symptoms are usually persistent in occasional frequency. However, these symptoms increase in severity during flares. A flare is characterized by an increase in the symptoms in comparison to normal (remission).
Fact: Any pet can develop arthritis.
Arthritis is commonly diagnosed in pets. There are certain risk factors associated with the development of arthritis, particularly genetic and environmental factors.
Fact: Arthritis is an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases are caused by the inability of the immune system to naturally identify normal tissues from foreign substances. The autoimmune disease of arthritis can affect many areas of the body, and is typically characterized by inflammation due to the destruction of healthy and necessary tissues.
Fact: There are several types of arthritis in pets.
Actually, the term arthritis does not refer to one single condition, but is a generic term used to describe a group of over 100 diseases. Some of the most common that afflict pets are listed.
- Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD): This type of arthritis is typically associated with degradation of tissues associated with the joints.
- Elbow Dysplasia: This is commonly associated with the malformation of the elbow joint. Bone malformations are commonly associated with what is known as bone chips that can be painful and accompanied by lameness.
- Hip Dysplasia: As insinuated by the name, hip dysplasia affects the hips of your pet, particularly the malformation of the ball and socket joint. It is typically accompanied by inflammation and calcium build up, causing tissue to degrade.
- Hypertrophic Arthritis: This is characterized by excessive amounts of bone growth isolated to joint areas.
- Knee Dysplasia: Also accompanied by malformed bones.
- Knee Stifle: This is typically diagnosed by the presence of torn ligaments and joint instability in addition to inflammation.
- Kneecap Dislocation: This is usually isolated to pets with the presence of poorly formed leg bones and is considered to be genetically inherited.
- Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis mainly causes the degradation of cartilage. It is typically a slow progressing arthritis associated with pain and discomfort.
- Osteochondrosis: This is a genetic condition affecting pets due to poor breeding practices. It is characterized by the presence of severe bone malformations and cartilage deterioration.
- Wrist Arthritis: This is commonly compared to carpel tunnel syndrome in humans.
Fact: There is no cure for arthritis.
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are many methods for the relief of signs and symptoms. While arthritis has no cure, the condition of arthritis is manageable.
Fact: Exercise is essential for your pet, even with the presence of arthritis.
Exercise is essential for all pets, especially pets with arthritis. While strenuous activity is discouraged, it is important that your pet get consistent amounts of low impact exercise. Try to maintain exercise as a part of your pet's everyday routine. If you have any questions about the ability of your arthritic pet, do not be afraid to contact your veterinarian for advice.
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