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Arthritis is inflammation of the duck's joint or joints, resulting in pain and/or disability, joint swelling, and stiffness. It is a common, painful musculoskeletal condition in ducks. Arthritis can be caused by infection, trauma, degenerative changes or metabolic disorders. Although osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in humans, birds are actually more prone to developing articular gout, another form of arthritis.

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 (NSAID) 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.


Falling over
Reduced activity level
Reluctance to walk or stand


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Radiographs


MethodMethod Summary
Ketoprofen1 mg/kg IM SID for 1-10 days
Analgesic drugs


  • Provide a balanced diet
  • Allow frequent exercise



Age Range

This condition is most often seen in older, adult ducks.

Risk Factors

  • Heavier breeds
  • Overweight birds
  • Prior wound involving or adjacent to the joint