What is Polyarthritis?
Polyarthritis is multiple inflamed joints at the same time. Polyarthritis can be infectious or noninfectious and symptoms will include fever, lameness, swollen joints, lethargy, and inappetence.
Infectious Polyarthritis is known as septic arthritis. This is commonly seen after a traumatic injury has exposed the joint to contamination by environmental microorganisms after surgery, or when microorganisms enter the joints through the bloodstream causing inflammation.
After drawing blood to confirm septic polyarthritis, your dog will be placed on an antibiotic. You will also need to clean and flush out the infected joint to make sure the infection that is being treated stays away. While your dog is healing you can alternate between icing and heating the affected joints to ease the pain and limit your dog's movement, depending on the joints affected a splint can be helpful to keep joints stable while they heal or a lifting harness can help you ease the weight put on your dog's joints.
Noninfectious forms of polyarthritis arthritis can be classified as erosive such as rheumatoid arthritis, Greyhound polyarthritis, and feline progressive polyarthritis or non-erosive. Non-erosive forms are called Immune-mediated Polyarthritis. Immune Mediated Polyarthritis is an abnormal immune response by the body attacking the joints. This abnormal immune response can be caused by an auto-immune response by the body against its own joint tissues or less commonly, by an infection.
After taking blood tests, urine and joint cultures, and joint taps to determine if the arthritis is not caused by an infection it will be diagnosed as “autoimmune” polyarthritis. After diagnosis, your vet will prescribe prednisone, a corticosteroid hormone that suppresses the immune system. Treatment can take several months and as the symptoms reduce your vet will gradually lower the dosage of medications until they are no longer needed. Often dogs do relapse and need to be treated again.
Splints for Dogs With Polyarthritis
To help stabilize the affected joint while being treated splints are a great healing aid. Walkin' Pets has the perfect splint for your dog's comfort and healing.