Is hip dysplasia the same as arthritis?

A question I have been asked by pet owners. Here’s my answer. It may be useful for you.

No dysplasia is not the same as arthritis. However, they are generally related when dysplasia refers to joint problems. Dysplasia simply means ‘abnormal development’. It often has a genetic basis. The common dysplasias that can cause joint problems are hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. The abnormal development seen in the joints of dogs that have these conditions leads to abnormal wear and tear with the subsequent development of arthritis being very likely. In the dog, most cases of osteoarthritis are secondary to another joint problem – i.e. there is a TRIGGER. However, once triggered, osteoarthritis is a progressive condition where there is loss of articular cartilage, the slippery surface of the joint, inflammation and scarring in the surrounding soft tissues (that’s why the joints become stiffer) and changes in the underlying bone.