Canine rheumatism is a degenerative disease that affects the joints and cartilage of an otherwise healthy dog. It can occur in most any breed at almost any age, with no real warning signs. Canine rheumatism is a progressive disease, which means that it will not get better without treatment, and even with treatment, it usually tends to get worse over time. The ultimate result of rheumatism tends to be the total destruction of cartilage cushioning between joints and the death of cells that produce that cartilage. As a result, these bones grind together very painfully, and motor function can be lost altogether.
Canine rheumatism most often occurs as the result of either trauma or bacterial infection, and is most prevalent in dogs that have already reached middle age, as well as older dogs. That said, it can easily happen in younger dogs as well, especially if they're of one of the breeds that are predisposed to joint ailments such as hip dysplasia. [...]