10 Common Orthopaedic Issues in Dogs and Cats

10 Common Orthopaedic Issues in Dogs and Cats

30 May 2024

10 Common Orthopaedic Issues in Dogs and CatsThe health and well-being of our pets are paramount as beloved members of our families. Among the many health concerns pet owners may face, orthopaedic issues are prevalent and can significantly impact a pet’s quality of life. At Millcreek Veterinary Clinic, we see a range of orthopaedic problems in dogs and cats. Here are the ten most common issues, their symptoms, and available treatments.

Hip Dysplasia

Description: A genetic disorder called hip dysplasia causes the hip joint to not fit tightly into the hip socket, which, over time, can lead to pain and arthritis.

Symptoms: Limping, reluctance to rise, run, or jump, and noticeable discomfort in the hip area.

Treatment: Weight management, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and, in severe cases, surgical options such as total hip replacement.


Description: Arthritis, or osteoarthritis, is a degenerative joint disease common in older pets, causing chronic joint pain.

Symptoms: Stiffness, limping, reduced activity, and difficulty in movements like climbing stairs.

Treatment: Pain relief medications, joint supplements, weight control, physical therapy, and sometimes surgical intervention.

Cruciate Ligament Tears

Description: The cruciate ligaments stabilize the knee joint, and tears are common, especially in active or overweight dogs.

Symptoms: Sudden lameness in one hind leg, knee swelling, and pain.

Treatment: Rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and surgery to stabilize the knee joint.

Patellar Luxation

Description: This condition, often genetic, involves the kneecap slipping out of its normal position.

Symptoms: Intermittent limping, skipping gait, and sudden lameness.

Treatment: Mild cases may require physical therapy and weight management, while severe cases often need surgical correction.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Description: When the cushioning discs that sit between the spine’s vertebrae protrude or burst into the spinal cord space, IVDD happens.

Symptoms: Pain, difficulty walking, hind limb weakness, and, in severe cases, paralysis.

Treatment: Depending on severity, treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, surgery, and physical rehabilitation.

Elbow Dysplasia

Description: A genetic condition where abnormal development of the elbow joint leads to pain and arthritis.

Symptoms: Front limb lameness, stiffness, and reluctance to play or exercise.

Treatment: Weight management, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and surgical intervention if needed.

OsteochondritisDissecans (OCD)

Description: OCD is a developmental condition where cartilage grows abnormally, leading to joint pain and lameness.

Symptoms: Lameness, joint swelling, and pain on manipulation of the affected joint.

Treatment: Rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and surgery to remove the abnormal cartilage.


Description: Often called “growing pains,” panosteitis is an inflammation of the long bones joint in young, large-breed dogs.

Symptoms: Shifting lameness from one leg to another, pain, and reluctance to move.

Treatment: Pain management and rest until the condition resolves as the dog matures.

Hip Luxation

Description: Hip luxation is the hip joint dislocation, usually due to trauma.

Symptoms: Sudden lameness, inability to bear weight on the affected leg, and pain.

Treatment: Manual reduction, surgery to stabilize the joint, and physical therapy.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Description: A progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs, leading to hind limb weakness and paralysis.

Symptoms: Hind limb weakness, wobbling gait, and eventually, loss of mobility.

Treatment: Although there isn’t a cure, supportive care and physical therapy can help people live better.

Prevention and Care

Preventing pet orthopedic issues involves regular veterinary check-ups, maintaining a healthy weight, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring appropriate exercise. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for maintaining your pet’s quality of life and effectively managing these conditions.

At Millcreek Veterinary Clinic, our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for pets with orthopaedic issues. If you notice any signs of discomfort or lameness in your pet, please get in touch with us for an evaluation. We can work together to give your pet a happy, pain-free life.

About Us

Millcreek Veterinary Clinic offers pet healthcare services in Mississauga. Get veterinary services along with a host of pet care products at your trusted local veterinarian.


6400 Millcreek Drive Unit#7
Mississauga, Ontario, L5N 3E7
*In the McDonald’s plaza
*Wheelchair accessible

Phone: 905-826-1122

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