Published by SignalPET on February 04, 2021
Canine osteoarthritis (OA) is a very common problem that affects between one-third to one-half of all canines at some point in their lives.
Described as a common clinical and pathological end-point from a range of joint disorders, osteoarthritis ultimately leads to structural and functional decline of the joint(s) with associated lameness/pain and limb dysfunction. While a majority of cases occur secondary to developmental orthopedic disease—namely, cranial cruciate rupture, hip/elbow dysplasia, patella luxation, and OCD—a small subset occurs with no primary cause and may be related to genetics and age. Bodyweight, gender, diet, and exercise are other contributing factors found to be related.
While severe disease is generally easy to diagnose, osteoarthritis can be challenging to detect during the early stages. The challenge is often compounded with some pets being more stoic than others, hiding their pain and suffering until it becomes too severe to mask. Most owners are unaware that their pets have OA, which has led to it being referred to as “silent pain” or those affected as “suffering in silence” until the pain is harder to hide. Since early detection may slow its progression and improve quality of life for longer, early detection and appropriate management during the routine examination may be one of the most important roles veterinarians have that may significantly improve the quality of the human-animal bond, for longer.
SignalPET is very excited to announce its release of two new tests, Elbow and Stifle Osteoarthritis, in hopes that you keep your patients walking well - well into their senior years.
Included below is a brief summary of clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment options for osteoarthritis.
Often a combination of a thorough history, full clinical examination (paying attention to joint manipulation/swelling and muscle atrophy), and diagnostic imaging.
While routine radiography may have its limitations, if used concurrently and effectively with a thorough history and physical examination, it can be a cost-effective first-line diagnostic tool.
Ideolepsis (state of being so convinced of one diagnosis or conclusion that all other rational alternatives are discarded) often means that OA is disregarded/overlooked, even after the initial crisis/presenting complaint is rectified.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Osteoarthritis. Treatment is aimed at alleviating pain and discomfort, in addition to delaying the progression of the disease. Treatment recommendations for OA are multimodal and include:
Pain Control: Pain control is the mainstay of osteoarthritis treatment. The most commonly used pain control medications are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) such as Carprofen and Meloxicam, while adjunctive pain medications (Gabapentin, Tramadol, acupuncture, CBD oil) can also be considered, but overall there is a lack of studies that prove their efficacy.