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Arthritis in Dogs

dog undergoing physical therapy
Pictured: Dog getting physical therapy treatment for arthritis


Canine Arthritis Overview

Just like humans, arthritis in dogs is a degenerative condition that affects one or more joints. Most cases occur in dogs with a congenital orthopedic disease such as hip dysplasia, or those with a joint injury.

Some cases of arthritis are related to an immune-mediated joint disease or a joint infection such as osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease.

Interesting Fact…

Arthritis affects one in five dogs over the age of one*


Common Types of Arthritis in Dogs

There are two common types of arthritis in dogs. Inflammatory joint disease and degenerative joint disease.

Inflammatory joint diseases are caused by an infection or underlying immune-mediated disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of inflammatory joint disease.

Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) is caused by the destruction of cartilage in the joint. Cartilage deterioration is caused by normal wear and tear on the joints. Types of degenerative joint diseases include:

Signs and Symptoms

Here are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate your dog has arthritis.

  • Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play
  • Lethargy
  • Limping
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Difficulty standing up
  • Slow movement
  • Pain at the touch


Depending on the severity and type of arthritis your dog is suffering from, treatment may include diet change, physical therapy, medication or acupuncture. For more severe cases of arthritis where your dog is unable to walk or live an otherwise normal life, corrective surgery may be necessary to fix the problem.

Cost to Treat

$20 to $100 per month for medication and $50 to $100 per session for physical therapy. If surgery is necessary for a degenerative joint disease you can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.

Pet insurance can help pay for arthritis treatment in your dog, but you must enroll in a plan before your dog shows clinical signs. Get free pet insurance quotes now and enroll while your dog is healthy!


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Related Content

* Johnson S. Osteoarthritis. Vet Clinic North American Small Animal Practice

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