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Current State of Disease

Prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs is believed to be greater than 20%1 and growing as dogs live longer and obesity is becoming more of an issue. It is likely that 2 out of every 5 dogs in your practice have clinical signs of OA2.

OA is caused by many factors, including developmental issues, injury and obesity. Poor conformation often leads to OA early in life. Conformational changes impact both large (hip dysplasia) and small dogs (patellar luxations). So, both large and small dogs should be screened for OA. Dogs can show signs of pain due to OA much earlier than often recognized. Signs of OA may often be missed by pet owners as dogs hide signs of pain.

There is no cure for OA, however, early diagnosis and a multimodal management plan, including pain control, can help keep dogs active, manage weight, and support the quality of life of dogs with OA.

The content and tools on this site will provide veterinarians and veterinary nurses the latest on the Science of OA as well as resources to identify and treat dogs suffering from the pain of OA.

Screen for Canine Osteoarthritis Pain
Ross Palmer, DVM, MS, DACVS describes how he talks with dog owners to get a good chronic pain history from them:

“Oftentimes they are discussing certain behaviors that they see, certain impairments in the dog's mobility. And then sometimes, actually, in the context just of that discussion... And this is ideal, is when they'll actually ask me, “Do you think he's in pain?” That's wonderful, because that opens up the door.”

OA Client Education
Did you know that, when educated about OA as an extremely common, painful disease that can be treated, 3 out of 4 of dog owners found the information relevant to their dog, and 2 out of 3 were motivated to make an appointment with their veterinarian?3

Use these articles to educate your clients about canine OA pain.

Osteoarthritis Pain Checklist for Dogs
There is a gap between what owners think of as pain and what veterinarians think of as pain. Use this validated Dog Osteoarthritis Pain Checklist to help your clients spot canine OA pain at home, where signs are most likely to be observed.

Access an interactive, digital version of the Canine OA Checklist at

A downloadable, printable version of the Canine OA Checklist can be used in your waiting and/or exam rooms:

This downloadable MP4 file plays a loop of the animated canine OA pain behaviors in the checklist. Play it in your reception area or post on your practice website:


1. Johnston SA. Vet Clin North Amer. 1997;27(4)699-723

2. Data on File, Study Report No. ORCAD1030, Zoetis Inc.

3. Data on File, Pet Owner Market Research (2018) Zoetis Inc.



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Other Resources

Canine Arthritis Management Group

The Canine Arthritis Management group is a syndicate of various individuals (specialists/GPs/nurses, etc.) focused on addressing the challenges of OA.


1. Johnston SA. Vet Clin North Amer. 1997;27(4)699-723

2. Data on File, Study Report No. ORCAD1030, Zoetis Inc.

3. Data on File, Pet Owner Market Research (2018) Zoetis Inc.




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