Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease where pain
and stiffness develop as a result of wear and tear to the joints involved.Hips,
knees, and elbows are the most susceptible joints. In certain breeds, abnormal
wear can start early in life. This may be the result of an injury or an
Hip dysplasia, a malformation of
the hip joint, is somewhat common in Irish setters. All breeding stock should be
radiographically cleared of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation of
Animals or an equivalent national orthopedic registry before being bred.
HOD afflicts some
Irish setter puppies (primarily between four and eight months of age) and is
sometimes fatal. Symptoms can include fever, lethargy, swelling of joints, and
lameness. Many veterinarians are not experienced in diagnosing and treating this
condition, so it is important that puppy owners be aware of HOD's existence.
Oversupplementation of puppies and high levels of protein in puppies' diets have
been linked to the development of this condition.
OCD is a joint diseases which involves
abnormal cartilage and/or bone development. OCD can affect the shoulders, elbows
or knees. Osteoarthritis will eventually occur if this condition is not taken
care of aggressively.
Elderly Irish setters often develop
spondylosis, an arthritic condition of the vertebrae that decreases mobility. It
tends to cause stiffness and loss of flexibility, but because it shows up
dramatically in x-rays of many older, large dogs, unrelated symptoms may be
attributed to it.