Early Detection of Osteoarthritis in Dogs Could Open Doors for a Cure

Jun 10, 2009

Osteoarthritis is commonly diagnosed in the late and irreversible stages, when treatment can only be expected to decrease pain and slow progression of disease. Because osteoarthritis is a widespread problem in dogs, horses and humans, doctors and veterinarians need a precise way to diagnose the disease early and accurately. Now, University of Missouri researchers are investigating potential biomarkers in dogs for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis, which could help identify patients at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

"By developing methods for earlier diagnosis of , prevention or even curative treatment strategies to manage the disease become more realistic," said James Cook, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, and the William & Kathryn Allen Distinguished Professor in Orthopedic Surgery. "Biomarkers could detect the disease before pain and swelling occurs, and owners could take preventative measures, such as modifying activities or diet, helping their pets lose weight and strengthen their joints, to reduce the likelihood of their dogs developing osteoarthritis."

In the study, researchers examined potential biomarkers in synovial fluid. Synovial fluid, which is fluid that lubricates the joints, is known to have sensitive and rapid responses to joint injury. Taking samples from dogs, researchers found that synovial fluid quantity and quality were altered in injured stifle joints (the joint in the hind limbs of dogs that is the equivalent joint to the human knee).

"At the MU Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory, we are particularly interested in identification and validation of biomarkers that can detect early stages of osteoarthritis to provide accurate diagnostic and prognostic information prior to the onset of clinical disease for people and for pets," Cook said. "Our team, led by Drs. Kuroki, Stoker and Garner, is making tremendous progress in developing simple tests on blood, urine and synovial fluid that show great promise for helping us diagnose impending osteoarthritis before it is too late to help the patient in the most effective manner."

Osteoarthritis causes degradation of articular cartilage, leading to pain, inflammation and loss of motion in the joint. Veterinarians predict that 20 percent of middle-aged dogs and 90 percent of older have osteoarthritis in one or more joints and the percentages are even higher for the human population.

Source: University of Missouri

Explore further: Sex chromosomes—why the Y genes matter

Related Stories

Out of joint

Sep 19, 2008

As America's Baby Boomers jog into the 21st century, joint pain from the most common form of arthritis continues to be a number one disabler. Until now, there has been no way to diagnose the disease until it reaches an advanced ...

New test to diagnose osteoarthritis early

Aug 20, 2008

A newly developed medical imaging technology may provide doctors with a long-awaited test for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA), scientists from New York reported today at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical ...

HRT increases likelihood of hip and knee replacement

Oct 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Having more children and using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the likelihood that women will have joint replacement surgery, a large Oxford University-led study has shown.

Recommended for you

Sex chromosomes—why the Y genes matter

10 hours ago

Several genes have been lost from the Y chromosome in humans and other mammals, according to research published in the open access journal Genome Biology. The study shows that essential Y genes are rescue ...

Better mouse model enables colon cancer research

May 27, 2015

Every day, it seems, someone in some lab is "curing cancer." Well, it's easy to kill cancer cells in a lab, but in a human, it's a lot more complicated, which is why nearly all cancer drugs fail clinical ...

How to get high-quality RNA from chemically complex plants

May 26, 2015

Ask any molecular plant biologist about RNA extractions and you might just open up the floodgates to the woes of troubleshooting. RNA extraction is a notoriously tricky and sensitive lab procedure. New protocols out of the ...

Plant fertility—how hormones get around

May 26, 2015

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have identified a transporter protein at the heart of a number of plant processes associated with fertility and possibly aging.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.