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Polyarthritis in dogs - prevalence and diagnosis
Polyarthritis in dogs can be very difficult to diagnose and also to treat. Are there any sex or breed predispositions, and how can this disease be diagnosed best? A very interesting retrospective study on 40 dogs gives interesting answers!

Medical records of 40 dogs with a diagnosis of PA were reviewed.

Retrieved data included breed, age at admission, sex, weight, clinical signs, and the results of synovial fluid analysis, complete blood count, serum chemistry profile, urinalysis, serologic screening tests for infectious diseases, and radiographic examination of affected joints.

RESULTS: The incidence of PA was 0.37%. Twenty-nine breeds were represented; 16 dogs were male, and 24 were female.
Mean body weight was 20.1 +/- 15 kg. The mean age at admission was 5.6 +/- 4 years. Eighty percent of dogs with PA had difficulty or reluctance walking, 35% were lame, 33% had spontaneous vocalization without any obvious reason, 20% had exercise intolerance, 18% were febrile, and 7.5% had an inability to rise or move.
Joint pain was identified in 40% of dogs. Synovial fluid color varied from colorless (36%) to yellow-tinged (36%) or hemorrhagic (28%). Synovial fluid mean cell count varied from 10 cells (400x) to 50 cells (1,000x).
Leukocytosis occurred in 59% of the dogs and was more frequently identified in dogs with very severe synovial inflammation.
Thirty-one percent of affected dogs were anemic. Serum biochemical profiles were considered abnormal in 13% of the dogs.
Joint radiography did not identify erosive arthritis.

CONCLUSIONS: PA is a common cause of locomotor abnormalities in dogs; however, true lameness and articular pain are not common clinical findings in dogs with PA.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: PA should be considered in the differential diagnosis for all dogs with difficulty walking.



Source: Jacques D, Cauzinille L, Bouvy B, Dupre G. (2002): A retrospective study of 40 dogs with polyarthritis. In: Vet Surg. 2002 Sep-Oct;31(5):428-34.



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