Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Degenerative Joint Disease in Dogs

Osteoarthritis, Arthritis in Dogs 

 

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. Older dogs are at the highest risk.

 

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Symptoms of DJD vary. Your dog may exhibit a decreased level of activity, occasional lameness, and a stiff gait that worsens with exercise. These symptoms may increase with exercise, long periods of inactivity, or cold weather.

 

Causes

 

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 dogs may include abnormal development of the hip or elbow (hip or elbow dysplasia), dislocation of the kneecap or shoulder, and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a condition in which the bone and cartilage develop abnormally so that a flap of cartilage develops within the joint.

 

Obesity is another factor for DJD, as it increases stress on joints. In addition, dogs with disorders such as diabetes, prolonged steroid treatment, and hyperlaxity (an excessive looseness of the joints) may also be at higher risk for DJD.

 

Diagnosis

 

A diagnosis of DJD may be done 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.

 

  

 

 

Related Articles

Doggie Dental Care
Your dog deserves a bright smile and a clean mouth, too. Make “doggie breath” a thing...
READ MORE
Inflammation of the Middle and Inner Ear in ...
Otitis media refers to an inflammation of the cat's middle ear, while otitis interna...
READ MORE
Ingestion of Feces and Foreign Objects in ...
Pica is a medical issue referring to a craving for non-food items and the subsequent...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search dog Articles

 

Latest In Dog Nutrition

Five Life-Lengthening Health Tips for Your ...
Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat wishes just one thing — that he or she has a...
READ MORE
Pet Food Ingredients that Promote Longer Life
Pet foods, in order to promote a healthy long life, must be balanced and complete...
READ MORE
Does My Senior Dog Need Special Dog Food?
Whether or not your senior dog needs special dog food depends, to a large extent,...
READ MORE
Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM