Infectious Arthritis Symptoms in Dogs

Infectious arthritis in dogs is also referred to as bacterial or septic arthritis. As the name suggests, a bacterial infection is what leads to joint inflammation and deterioration of the tissues, causing this acute form of the condition. Symptoms of infectious arthritis are similar to other forms, such as osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia, making this particular condition difficult to diagnose. This is considered the most dangerous form of arthritis, however, due to the potential for the bacterial infection to spread to other parts of the body.


Symptoms of infectious arthritis usually center around pain. This type of acute arthritis normally affects one specific area, so the dog may seem to be lame in only one leg. Pain may appear to come and go. The dog may play and exercise regularly and seem to be fine, and then suddenly have problems moving on a particular day. Because symptoms and even test results can be general in the early stages of this condition, it may be difficult to pinpoint the actual cause. There are other factors that may lead to this condition that, if known, could help with diagnosis.


Infectious arthritis in dogs is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections can arise from tick-borne diseases or from a fungal infection that develops in an open wound, site of a catheter or from use of a contaminated needle. Vaccinations have been known to cause this type of arthritis, as has severe gum disease, which tends to be common among canines. If any of these conditions are possible or present, it may be beneficial to mention them during the time of examination. These details may help to differentiate infectious arthritis from some other inflammatory or arthritic condition.


There are many different options for treating infectious arthritis, and the best solution for your dog will depend upon several factors. Early diagnosis is most favorable for the best prognosis, but it's often difficult to detect infectious arthritis in early stages. This may lead to one of several treatment options, including drug treatment involving pain relievers and antibiotics, joint lavage or possibly amputation. There are many forms of alternative therapy that you may wish to research as well. Several well-known herbal remedies may alleviate pain, reduce inflammation or clear up infections. These include primrose oil, echinacea and others.


Infectious arthritis is a dangerous condition that doesn't always end with a favorable outcome. Prognosis is better the earlier the infection is discovered, but the success rate of treatment will ultimately determine whether or not your dog improves. The most important part of treatment is to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. Other factors that may need to be examined are possibilities for the onset of future joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis or problems with the immune system caused by the infection. Improving your dog's diet and researching all possible methods of effective treatment will be your best bet for your dog's full recovery.