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Diagnosing Arthritis

Hello, I’m Dr. David Roberts from Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.

Today our topic is going to be on arthritis in our dog and cat patients. Arthritis is actually very, very common. We see it in young dogs, and we see it in older dogs. It occurs in about 1 out of every 3 canine patients and a little less in cats, but we certainly see our share of this in kitty cats.

There are many reasons for arthritis. Everyone thinks about hip displaysia, which is a congenital, or a born/inborn disease that can eventually causes arthritis. There are also infectious causes for arthritis, such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. These are transmitted by ticks. Another cause is a traumatic injury, being hit by a car perhaps, but more importantly, rupturing or tearing a ligament, such as the ACL ligament in the knee. [pointing to radiographs on viewer] This is an x-ray that gives you an idea of a ruptured ligament. These are some of the tools we use to diagnose arthritic problems. These are x-rays that show nice, perfectly formed hips in a 5 year old dog that has no evidence of hip displasyia, or arthritis. This example shows a dog that has a normal hip on the right side and an arthritic hip on the opposite side.

We’re going to show you a couple of other examples. This is an example of a dog that has an infectious, tick transmitted disease, Ehrlichia, and arthritis in its ankle joint.

This is a side view of the ankle, the normal clean knee joint, and a very dramatic arthritic ankle joint. This x-ray is of a cat that was hit by a car when it was young. And all of this down here is arthritic change. This area, very very normal, all of this, is very arthritic.

So, when we start to think about arthritis, we just don’t want to say “Gosh, he probably has hip displaysia.” There are many things we need to do such as examining the lower back, hips, and ankles, or testing for tick transmitted diseases, to figure out what the problem really is.

And those are the ways we start to go down the path of helping our patients with arthritic problems. In Part 2, we’ll talk to you about treatments for arthritic changes.

I’m Dr. David Roberts from Manchester West Veterinary Hospital. Thank you very much.

Located In Ellisville, MO

We're located just off Manchester Road (Hwy 100)
one mile West of Clarkson Rd.

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