Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
Osteoarthritis (OA) reportedly affects 20% of adult dogs, but definitive data are lacking. Early identification and treatment of OA may decrease progression and improve function.
The main objective was to determine if screening for OA in middle aged to older dogs undergoing routine dental prophylaxis is worthwhile.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of OA and the joints affected. We hypothesized that up to 75% of dogs would have some degree of OA when undergoing dental procedures.
Dogs admitted for dental prophylaxis of any breed, > 11 kg, and 5 to 12 years of age were studied. A questionnaire assessed function and mobility at home. Radiographs of the shoulders, elbows, carpi, hip joints, stifles, and tarsi were obtained under sedation. Radiographs were evaluated for the presence of OA.
Nineteen of 28 dogs evaluated (68%) had 1 or more joints with radiographic OA. The number of dogs with affected joints included hip (11), tarsus (10), carpus (4), stifle (4), shoulder (3), and elbow (1). Dogs with OA had an average of 3 joints affected (range 1–8). Returned questionnaires indicated that 10 of 14 dogs with OA had no clinical signs, whereas 6 of 7 dogs without OA had no signs.
Osteoarthritis is common in dogs undergoing dental procedures. Most owners do not realize their dog has OA. An optimal time to screen for OA is during dental procedures because dogs can be evaluated and radiographs obtained.