Entries in Osteoarthritis (3)


Warning Signs of Arthritis in Pets

Janie Airey/Lifesize/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Millions of Americans are living with the pain of osteoarthritis, and so are millions of pets.

According to veterinarians, it's one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in their field, and unlike their human counterparts, animals must suffer in silence.

Since pets can't express that they're in pain, vets say there are certain warning signs owners should watch out for, ranging from physical signals to behavioral changes.  And while the joint damage caused by osteoarthritis can't be reversed, the pain can be treated.  But early diagnosis is critical.

"Arthritis is easier to diagnose in dogs," said Duncan Lascelles, professor of surgery and pain management at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  "We ask them to perform certain activities, like going for walks or jumping in the car to go for a ride.  We go and do activities together, so if we're observant, we can see alterations in the animals' ability to perform them."

Dogs may not want to walk as far, or may appear to tire easily, he said.  They may also hesitate before jumping or walking.

"Dogs may also be slow to rise on their back legs, or may limp, or they may bunny-hop instead of using their normal stride," said Marty Becker, a veterinarian in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and a columnist for

Cats don't move around as much and are lower to the ground, but there are certain cues that they may be in pain.

"They may be less likely to jump on window ledges or onto furniture, or people may start moving furniture to help the cat and not realize the cat is actually in pain," said Lascelles.

Cats may also not use the litter box if it's too high and may stop grooming themselves, Becker said.

Arthritis isn't common only in dogs and cats.  Rabbits and horses often suffer from the condition, and Lascelles explained that food-producing animals are known to suffer from it as well, but don't survive long enough to experience the disease's negative effects.

Pets in pain may also act differently than they normally do.

"People become irritable and short-tempered when they're in pain, and the same thing happens to pets," said Lascelles.

The pain may cause pets to snap, growl or exhibit other aggressive behavior, even toward their owners.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Weight Loss Could Ease Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- Researchers say they have a simple solution for osteoarthritis-related knee pain, they suggest losing weight.

According to a release from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, researchers say they’ve found that patients who had early-onset knee osteoarthritis experienced a decrease in pain after undergoing isolated weight loss via bariatric surgery. Researchers studied 24 patients in the 30-67 age range, who were diagnosed as obese with evidence of knee osteoarthritis. The patients in the study were given surveys to complete before and after undergoing bariatric surgery.

"There are few studies that have investigated the role of isolated weight loss in the absence of additional arthritis treatment on those individuals with radiographically confirmed osteoarthritis," said researcher Christopher Edwards of the Penn State College of Medicine. "Further research still needs to be performed to investigate whether knee arthritis symptom improvement continues over time and are applicable to those individuals who are simply overweight."

Osteoarthritis-related knee pain is common among retired athletes, and osteoarthritis in the knee is one of the leading causes of disability among elderly men and women, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. The disease is said to be responsible for over $185 billion in out-of-pocket expenses annually, and obesity is listed as one of the leading risk factors for the disease.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arthritis Drug Blocks Pain Too Well in Some

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DAVIS, Calif.) -- An experimental drug for patients with osteoarthritis has yielded an unexpected finding.  The drug appears to be effective against pain in many people with arthritic knees, but in some patients, it blunted joint pain so powerfully they never felt the warning signs they were overdoing it and suffered joint destruction as a result.

In the quest for new pain relievers with minimal side effects, researchers have been focusing on a chemical known as nerve growth factor, which has been associated with increased pain from a variety of injuries and inflammatory conditions.  The experimental drug in this study aims to inhibit nerve growth factor. Its effect is significant, especially in light of the prevalence of osteoarthritis, a common result of excessive wear-and-tear on the joints, which plagues an estimated 27 million American adults. Many sufferers seek pain relief from non-narcotic medications.

"This is a radical notion for most people: that pain can be protective, but if you think about it, without pain signals, we would injure ourselves all the time" said Dr. Jack Choueka, chairman of orthopedics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., who was not involved in the study.  "Doctors strive to reduce chronic pain, but they need to preserve at least some of it. It is the body's way of putting up a red flag warning about imminent tissue damage, Choueka said. "So it's important for doctors to help patients cope with pain, but not to the point where their ability to feel pain is impaired and places them in danger. Ergo: a little pain is a good thing."

The drug that worked "too well," tanezumab, is among a class of targeted treatments using monoclonal antibodies that latch onto a specific target, in this case nerve growth factor, and neutralize it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio