Polyarthritis (PA) is the simultaneous inflammation of multiple joints in the body (arthritis is inflammation of a joint). PA is caused by the excessive influx of inflammatory cells into the tissues of the joint as well as the influx of inflammatory cells into the joint (synovial) fluid. The inflammatory cells disrupt the normal architecture of the synovial (joint) lining as well as the composition of the synovial (joint). This causes the release of substances within the joint that create significant inflammation, swelling, and joint discomfort or pain.
The clinical signs that each animal displays may vary from patient to patient and is dependent upon the severity of the inflammatory process as well as the number of joints involved. In most dogs and cats, the joints most likely to be affected include the carpi (wrists), tarsi (hocks), and then to a lesser extent the elbows, stifles (knees), and other joints.
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