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At what age do dogs develop osteoarthritis?

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Intro Text
People associate the signs of arthritis with older dogs, but it’s actually a problem that often starts early in life. The most common causes of arthritis in dogs are joints that don’t develop normally (developmental joint disease) and joint injury. Joint injuries can occur at any age, but young, energetic dogs are at risk.
Development disorders are common in large breeds
Young dogs

Young dogs can develop arthritis due to the way that their bones and other structures fit together (conformation). In these dogs, joints are abnormal from birth and prone to damage, leading to early arthritis.

For example:

  • Many brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs suffer from abnormalities of the knees (patellar luxation) and hips (hip dysplasia)
  • Hip dysplasia is common in German Shepherd dogs and other large and giant breeds, which can also suffer from similarly poor structure in the elbow (elbow dysplasia).
Development disorders are common in large breeds

Can dogs get arthritis at a young age?

Dogs of any age can develop arthritis due to injury. Injuries that could lead to arthritis include: damage to ligaments which stabilise a joint, damage to the joint capsule, or damage to the bones of the joint. Anything that takes a joint out of perfect alignment leads to abnormal movement of the joint and wearing of the joint structures.

Additionally, being overweight can also put an abnormal stress on the joints. 

Arthritis in older dogs

In older dogs, osteoarthritis can be caused by age related wear and tear of joints or worsening of osteoarthritis that developed earlier in life.





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