Osteoarthritis is one of the most common non-inflammatory joint diseases in many terrestrial mammal species, particularly humans, dogs and cats. But what about aquatic species? Does the weightlessness of their water environment provide them with a medium that conserves wear and tear on their joints?
A study by K. Nganvongpanit and collegues, assessed skeletal remains of dolphins and dugongs for indications of degredation of articulate cartilage, to determine the prevalence of osteoarthritis in marine mammals.
The study found that osteoarthritis can occur in marine mammals, however the severity thereof is reduced, due to the properties of water facilitating joint support, and removing the stress of consistent weight-bearing that terrestrial mammals face.