Osteoarthritis Versus Arthritis: What's the Difference?

Q: What's the difference between osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis?

A: Primarily what we see in the horse is osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is characterized primarily by the degeneration of the tissues of the joint as a whole, so it's the cartilage on the end of the bone and inflammation in the joint.

There are other types of arthritis we see in cats, dogs, and humans, such as rheumatoid arthritis, where it's an immune-mediated disease, meaning your body is attacking your own tissues. But in horses, we don't really recognize immune mediated arthritis. So, when your veterinarian diagnoses your horse as having arthritis, OA, or degenerative joint disease, they're all really synonymous with arthritis.

About the Author

Lisa A. Fortier, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS

Lisa A. Fortier, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, is an associate professor of Large Animal Surgery at Cornell, University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y., where her research interests include arthritis, stem cells, and tendonitis.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners