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Arthritis in Pets 
04/02/04 J.R. Rogers

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, slow progressing condition that is caused by the breakdown and destruction of your pet's cartilage. As that occurs, the bony structures begin to rub against one another causing pain and discomfort. 

Degenerative Joint Disease involves some kind of a breakdown or destruction in portions of the joint, usually cartilage. Just as in the case of osteoarthritis, this condition does not necessarily mean that your pet is experiencing any inflammation. 

Hip Dysplasia is characterized by a malformed "ball and joint" socket in your animal. As you might expect, this ill-fitting combination causes a series of complications. Here, chronic inflammation is common; calcium build-ups occur; there is muscle pain; and, the tissue in the surrounding areas begin to break down. 

Elbow Dysplasia is a condition that is typically hereditary and most generally found in larger breeds of dogs. Bones become malformed which usually results in "bone chips" that are very painful. Typically, your pet will exhibit some lameness when suffering from this condition. 

Knee (Dysplasia) is also characterized by malformed bones and "bone chips." It is painful and often obviates itself since the pet will be lame and/or limping as the condition progresses. 

Knee (Stifle) joint typically involves torn ligaments which cause instability in the joint. Dislocation of the (knee) joint is also a problem. Inflammation is common since this is a joint that is subjected to a lot of stress and strain. In most cases, it is a result of poor breeding. 

Osteochondrosis is a condition where you are contending with a medical condition that results from poor breeding. Improper or inadequate diet can also cause this condition. (Both factors may be at play.) It is characterized by cartilage deterioration and tissue is generally both inflamed and painful. 

Hypertrophic Arthritis involves excessive bone growth and/or "spurs" on the joints themselves. In such situations, the pet is typically experiencing a lot of pain. 

Shoulder (Degeneration) is usually a multi-factorial situation making a clear-cut cause difficult to isolate. An unstable joint, osteochondrosis, or even trauma may be the cause. (Or, a combination of factors may also be the cause). 

Wrist Arthritis (Carpi) might be compared to "carpal tunnel syndrome" seen in humans. Usually, this area of the pet's body is affected more frequently with those who are very active. 

Kneecap (Dislocation) is usually caused by poorly formed leg bones which secondarily, allow the kneecap to move or "pop" out of its normal position. Usually, this is either an inherited condition or results from poor breeding.