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Osteoarthritis in cats: Degenerative joint disease vs. osteoarthritis
Although the terms degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis are commonly used interchangeably in the veterinary arena, a distinction has been made between the two.
Degenerative joint disease vs. osteoarthritis
Prevalence and pathophysiology
Although the terms degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis are commonly used interchangeably in the veterinary arena, a distinction has been made between the two.1 Degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a general term used to describe any degenerative change in a synovial, cartilaginous, or fibrous articulation in the skeleton. Osteoarthritis, however, is a pathologic change of a diarthrodial synovial articulation and includes deterioration of articular cartilage, osteophyte formation, bone remodeling, soft tissue changes, and low-grade nonpurulent inflammation. Not all radiographic changes are correlated with a clinical problem. As veterinarians, we are most interested in changes that have a negative impact on a cat's life because of pain and discomfort or because the cat can no longer perform normal functions such as jumping.
Editors' note: Dr. Robertson has received financial support from Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica to conduct workshops for Boehringer-Ingelheim veterinarians, write one review article, and speak at veterinary continuing education meetings.