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Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is defined as the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. Arthritis is the medical term for inflammation of the joints, while osteoarthritis is the term referring to a form of chronic joint inflammation caused by deterioration of joint cartilage.
Cats are susceptible to DJD, with older animals being at the highest risk.
Cats with DJD are unlikely to exhibit lameness, instead having difficulty grooming, jumping onto furniture, or accessing the litter box. A stiff-legged gait, decreased range of motion, and increased irritability may also be apparent.
There is no known cause for primary DJD. However, there are a wide variety of causes for secondary DJD, such as trauma, abnormal wear on joints and cartilage, or a congenital defect present at birth such as an improperly formed hip (also known as hip dysplasia).
Causes of secondary DJD in cats include dislocation of the knee cap, hip dysplasia, and a variety of joint diseases.
Obesity is another factor for DJD, as it increases stress on joints.
Diagnosis of DJD may be settled upon based on an assessment of historical symptoms, such as decreased activity or stiffness, as well as a physical examination which will reveal a decreased range of motion, stiff-legged gait, deformity of the joints, and swelling or pain in the joints.
Any type of pain or tenderness or lack of soundness in the feet or legs of animals
A disease of the joints in which the cartilage and bone become degenerative
The term used to describe the movement of an animal
A condition in which growth and development are not up to normal standards
Anything that looks different from what is considered to be normal and healthy for that species
A medical condition in which the joints become inflamed and causes a great deal of pain.