The presence or absence of arthritis in both the mouse and rat model is relatively easy to ascertain. In both rodent models, any or all of the four paws can be affected. The inflammation at its peak extends from the ankle all the way through the digits and is characterized by extreme swelling and erythema. Once arthritis appears, each paw is examined two to three times a week. It is not uncommon to see a normal-looking limb one day, yet find it greatly swollen the next. Although the arthritis is monophasic, severe arthritis may result in ankylosing of the joint.
The biggest difficulty in characterizing the arthritis is evaluating the severity of the inflammation. The most widely used system is a simple visual scoring of 0 to 4 (Table 15.5.3) where a score of 1 indicates minimal inflammation and 4 represents extensive
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