Did you know that dogs can also suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes called
degenerative joint disease.
WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
When dogs suffer from osteoarthritis, their joints become inflamed, swollen and painful.
The hips, knees, elbows, shoulders and spine are the bones and joints which are most
commonly affected. Dogs with mild OA may have (and show) slight stiffness of the joints.
When the disease is more severe you’ll often notice limping and an abnormal stance
(called lameness). Eventually, if left untreated, most dogs with OA experience loss of
mobility (limitation of movement) because of the pain.
Luckily, there is treatment available that brings pain relief.
WHAT CAUSES OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Some dogs are more likely than others to develop OA.
Common causes include:
• Old age
• Large size
• Genetic reasons
• Trauma or injury
• Excessive physical activity
• Inherited developmental abnormalities of the bones and joints
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Since dogs can’t talk and signs may be subtle, it’s up to you to look out for
changes in your dog’s behaviour and talk to your vet about it. Here are a few things to
look out for:
• Change in normal eating habits
• It seems to hurt when you touch them
• He or she is excessively licking a joint or leg
• Your dog’s stance changed / seems abnormal
• Your dog is limping and/or walking differently
• Your dog is not that interested in playing anymore
• Lack of vocal expression OR frequent yelping/whimpering
• Walking, running, jumping and/or climbing stairs seem more difficult
• Your dog seems stiff and/or is slow to rise from his or her resting position
• Your dog’s behaviour has changed (whether it’s withdrawal, aggression, etc.)