The care and treatment of osteoarthritis in dogsĀ and cats

What is osteoarthritis (arthritis)?

Osteoarthritis is a long term degenerative disease seen in both humans and animals that affects the joints and can restrict their range of movement. It is a painful condition and, generally, more evident in dogs than cats. While more commonly associated with older pets, it can occur at any age and some breeds are more susceptible than others. Over 20% of dogs are estimated to have the condition in some form.

What causes it?

The reasons why osteoarthritis develops can vary but it is commonly for one of two reasons: either genetic predisposition or previous joint damage due to injury.


Unfortunately some dogs are born with a predisposition to osteoarthritis. These animals may additionally show poor joint development, such as bow-legs, and the condition generally progresses to become more painful and limiting as the dog gets older.

Injury/ stress

In many cases continual overloading of joints can trigger osteoarthritis. Obesity is a typical example of prolonged joint stress, however a single serious injury may also result in long term damage and lead to the condition.