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Arthritis is a common, painful musculoskeletal condition in ducks. In one study, almost 50% of waterfowl kept in a zoo exhibit developed arthritis. Arthritis is a chronic, degenerative process characterized by progressive cartilage deterioration, loss of joint space, bone remodeling, and inflammation of the joint tissues.
Ducks with arthritis usually have varying degrees of lameness and swelling of the associated joint. In one study, 50% of ducks with arthritis developed bumblefoot in at least one of their feet as a result.
Ducks with arthritis are most often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs (meloxicam, carprofen, ketoprofen, buprenorphine, and butoorphanol) to help with the pain, on an as-needed basis. Other therapies used include Adequan injections, acupuncture, and physical therapy sessions.