Osteoarthritis, often referred to just as arthritis, is a chronic, degenerative joint disease that makes movement difficult and painful and mainly affects cats and dogs in their middle and senior years. Most commonly this condition affects the hips, elbows and knees but can involve any joint.
Although a long-term condition, arthritis often has sudden flare-ups perhaps associated with cold damp weather or excessive exercise. Arthritis may be caused by wear and tear or may develop after a joint is injured.
In addition it can develop following a problem with joint development. The best known of this type is hip dysplasia but elbow and shoulder dysplasias are also recognised. In these cases arthritis may develop in young animals.