Stages of Canine Osteoarthritis (OA)

Learn to recognize the early, subtle signs and risk factors of canine OA, so you can provide treatment confidently at the earliest diagnosed stage.

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Detection at Every Stage

Canine OA can occur during any stage of a dog’s life. Unfortunately, many signs of OA don’t become visible to veterinarians or pet owners until a dog is well into its adult life. As you know all too well, by that time, the pain is constant and chronic, and your patient can find it hard to do the things he loves.

Fortunately, you can help much earlier. In fact, canine OA often starts at a young age.1 With early detection and treatment, you can do what you do best, provide relief for your patients' discomfort to help them live active lives with their family and preserve the moments that matter.

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The Stages of Canine OA

Canine OA develops over time, with dogs becoming progressively less mobile as they move through each stage.

Pre-Osteoarthritis (STAGE 0-1)

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Stages 0 and 1 are the preclinical stages, meaning the dogs are clinically normal. Stage 0 dogs are clinically normal and without any risk factors. In contrast, stage 1 dogs are clinically normal (not showing any signs of OA), but at risk due to the presence of one or more risk factors, e.g. breed disposition, joint injury, intense activity, and/or radiographic signs of dysplasia or joint trauma.

Mild Osteoarthritis (STAGE 2)

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A dog’s mobility is likely affected during some activities, such as playing fetch. There may be subtle stiffness in gait, asymmetry, lameness and changes in static bodyweight distribution.

Moderate Osteoarthritis (STAGE 3)

A dog will show obvious abnormality in limb loading, stiffness in gait and shift in static bodyweight distribution. It’s common to reduce use of the affected limb and show consistent abnormalities during daily activities, such as walking.

Severe Osteoarthritis (STAGE 4)

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A dog often becomes restless when standing and may be reluctant to stand or move. Other signs include consistent severe lameness, weight shift and abnormal limb loading.

Signs of OA often remain subtle until the moderate and severe stages, making detection at home difficult for owners and diagnosis increasingly difficult for veterinarians. Early screening, detection and treatment are critical for reducing pain and inflammation and facilitating mobility to help your patients maintain their day-to-day activities.

Start the Movement

COAST is an innovative canine OA staging tool designed by a consortium of international experts in veterinary surgery and pain management. With COAST, you can start the conversation about canine OA with pet owners before it sets in, and monitor OA over time.

Get Started with COAST
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You Might Be Interested In…

Recognizing the stages of OA is important, but it doesn’t stop there. Find more useful resources below to get up to speed on canine OA.

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Galliprant Factsheet

Review this factsheet to better understand canine OA, the importance of treating early, and how Galliprant features as part of effective pain management.

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Treat Canine OA Pain With Confidence

Find out how Galliprant® (grapiprant tablets) allows you to provide daily relief for canine OA pain.

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A Case of Inspiration

Feel inspired by the stories of veterinarians making a meaningful impact in the lives of their patients and their families.


Galliprant is an NSAID that controls pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in dogs.

Important Safety Information

Not for use in humans. For use in dogs only. Keep this and all medications out of reach of children and pets. Store out of reach of dogs and other pets in a secured location in order to prevent accidental ingestion or overdose. Do not use in dogs that have a hypersensitivity to grapiprant. If Galliprant is used long term, appropriate monitoring is recommended. Concomitant use of Galliprant with other anti-inflammatory drugs, such as COX-inhibiting NSAIDs or corticosteroids, should be avoided. Concurrent use with other anti-inflammatory drugs or protein-bound drugs has not been studied. The safe use of Galliprant has not been evaluated in dogs younger than 9 months of age and less than 8 lbs (3.6 kg), dogs used for breeding, pregnant or lactating dogs, or dogs with cardiac disease. The most common adverse reactions were vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and lethargy. Click here for full prescribing information.

Contact your Elanco or distributor representative, or call Elanco (1-888-545-5973) to discover how you can incorporate Galliprant into your canine OA protocol today.

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