Definition of Arthritis
Arthritis, also sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease, DJD, osteoarthritis or OA, refers to the inflammation of one or more joints. It can be caused by traumatic injuries, physical deformities, joint infections, genetic predispositions and problems with the immune system. Arthritis is painful, progressive and usually permanent. It is can lead to joint deformities, lameness, stiffness and loss of normal joint function, depending on the number of joints involved and the age and general health of the affected animal. In severe cases, arthritis can be crippling and completely debilitating. Unfortunately, this disease is fairly common in companion dogs. Still, there are a number of things that owners can do to help their arthritic dogs lead full and fairly pain-free lives. These include weight management, dietary and lifestyle changes, surgical procedures and medications and supplements that provide pain relief and may delay further joint damage.