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Do injuries and infections cause old age arthritis or failing OFAs?

The Ryman Setters Forum Forums Health Do injuries and infections cause old age arthritis or failing OFAs?

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    • #395
      October Setters

        I would like to discuss this question, which has come up in response to the last post in our HD series. To begin, here is a general statement from the OFA on the subject:

        “The hip joint is a weakened structure in dysplastic animals and is more prone to injury from normal activities such as jumping off a couch or rough housing with a playmate. Frequently, this results in an acute lameness that appears as if it might have been caused by injury, whereas the underlying dysplasia actually made the joint more susceptible to injury. Obviously, the normal hip can be injured, but radiographic examination can usually distinguish between a hip problem due to dysplasia and one due to other causes.”

        Injuries: It’s important to keep in mind that the arthritis caused by HD is secondary to it’s congenital structural abnormalities, primarily subluxation and shallow acetabula. The poor, loose fit of the joint is what leads to the arthritis, and those abnormalities are there whether or not there is evidence of arthritic changes in an x-ray. Injuries don’t cause that poor joint structure.

        Remodeling of the femoral head and neck is a hallmark arthritic finding in a dysplastic hip. My understanding is the only injury that would cause remodeling is a fracture. Even if the owner somehow didn’t know about the fracture, it would be seen in the x-ray.

        Also, it is fairly common for dysplastic dogs to go through an acute and painful stage of the disease at a young age (or “injury” as mentioned above), get through that and seem to recover, but then go on to have the chronic stages become obvious later. It is human nature for someone to want to believe a failing OFA from a dog like this might be caused by what they thought was an injury.

        Infections: It definitely is possible for an infection to get in a joint and cause arthritis. I don’t know how common that is, but I suspect it’s unusual other than with something like Lyme disease. As far as failing an OFA goes, this would look different than HD in an x-ray. If nothing else you wouldn’t see the remodeling of the dysplastic hip, or the poor structure.

        In regards to old age arthritis we need to look at the probability of this happening just to one or both hips. Yes, it is within the realm of possibility, but odds are high that if your dog has old age arthritis isolated to the hips it wasn’t caused by an infection. I would think sort of the opposite is much more likely- a dysplastic dog that also has an additional congenital disease in the front and is arthritic on both ends. If you look at the elbow dysplasia stats it’s obvious it would not be too uncommon for an English setter to have both elbow and hip dysplasia.

        I’ll be interested to hear more thoughts on this.


      • #396

        Lisa, its conjecture but one would expect a young dog that goes through a period of pain that is severe enough for a person to identify by secondary characteristics (limps, wont run etc) will learn avoidance and coping behaviors that will reduce or hide pain.  We have an Australian Shepard in our household that commonly displayed evidence of pain and limited mobility when we got him. He doesnt these days, now about 12 years old, but he wont run much either and never has.

      • #398
        October Setters

          JC- Probably no way to know for sure, but I think that’s a good conjecture. This is what is going with dysplastic dogs that have overly developed front ends. They keep running, but shift more of the work to the front to avoid the pain. The muscles in the rear atrophy and the front end gets bigger.


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