Dog Osteoarthritis – A Cure Found!

June 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

I am sorry there is not a cure for dog osteoarthritis and I apologize if the heading of this post has misled you but let me explain…

This is a post about how the media filters your news and although in this case I believe it to be unintentional ignorance it still proves my point.  I was sent this story – Identification of biomarkers for osteoarthritis may lead to cure and it is a well written story. I chuckled over this statement

Detecting osteoarthritis before painful symptoms are present could help owners alter the dog’s health and lifestyle before joint damage occurs.  Changing the diet, reducing weight and starting exercises to strengthen joints could delay the onset of the painful symptoms.

You should have a dog with the correct diet and low weight that is exercised daily anyway…LOL

But still the whole point of the story was that researchers are studying for precursors to osteoarthritis in dogs to help with catching the disease early or possibly even find a cure for the devastating joint disease. It caught my interest so I followed the link posted in the story that was based on the original story from Science Daily which is here, Early Detection Of Osteoarthritis In Dogs Could Open Doors For A Cure 

Now what caught my attention in this story (besides the diet and exercise quote) was this paragraph –

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).

To which my mind responded…Yeah so! Any horse vet knows that synovial fluid becomes thinner and losses its lubricity in the face of inflammation. It has been known for years!

I am sure that Dr. James Cook who was quoted in this story – “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.”  is correct in that they are looking for markers and I applaud them for doing so, it would make my job easier to have a blood test or urine test to determine if a dog actually has arthritis. It would be cool, really. I feel a joint and it has “stiffness”, so I can take some blood and say yep it has the precursors for arthritis lets really treat this now so we can slow the process down. Or even better an annual exam dog is doing well, take a blood test and find the precursors I can suggest supplementation, really stress weight control and have a reason for the owners to listen, because of the precursors. OK, so I took it one step further and clicked on the link for the quoted Research – Examination of synovial fluid hyaluronan quantity and quality in stifle joints of dogs with osteoarthritis.

What!?! I’m sorry but this research abstract tells me nothing that I didn’t already know. It tells me that if I destroy the cartilage in a dogs knee that it changes the quality and quantity of joint fluid…no kidding! Then there is a brief mention at the end of the abstract “A specific hyaluronan protein fragment may be associated with early pathologic changes in affected joints.” You don’t say and how does this have anything to do with the majority of pets out there that have osteoarthritis from genetic or old age onset osteoarthritis? It doesn’t, because they did not study that type of dog (which I understand because it is much more difficult to control and study that type of dog) but rather they purposely caused traumatic damage to a joint which has completely different course and progression of osteoarthritis and studied that. From my experience, traumatic osteoarthritis is much more aggressive and has a faster progression.

So from two news pieces exclaiming that research is on the verge of discovering a test for early diagnosis and that it can lead to a cure to the entire let down of a study published in December of last year that really says nothing of the sort. There you have it dog lovers, although I do believe that researchers are trying to find early precursors we are still a long way from discovery if we are still proving what we already know.

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About Dr Daniel Beatty
An Infopreneur with a Veterinary Medicine degree.

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