Feline Arthritis – Symptoms and Pain Relief
A: Feline osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease (the cartilage in knees and joints starts to break down) that can cause pain and mobility problems in 40% of cats at any age. This condition may negatively impact their quality of life. You might notice it’s more difficult for your cat to play, climb stairs, enter a high litter box, or enjoy light grooming and petting without discomfort. If you notice behavioral changes, be patient. Your pet may be suffering while trying to hide it from you.
We are reading the research that proves that many cats are being significantly under treated for OA. Approx. 40% of cats of ANY age have OA, so it’s not even an age-specific disease anymore. For cats over 8 years old it’s over 70% have OA these days!
If you suspect arthritis, come in for a visit! We will review your cat’s medical history and complete a physical exam to check for decreased range of motion in the joints, joint pain and visible joint deformities. If X-rays confirm a diagnosis for feline arthritis, then we’ll propose a plan for treatment.
A: Cats who have had a fracture or bone injury are more likely to develop arthritis where the damage occurred. Overweight and obese cats may also develop arthritic symptoms due to added pressure on their joints. In this case, weight loss is very important in managing their health. It can also be hereditary. For more information on obesity in cats, read our article: Your Cat is Overweight
A: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common treatment and are prescribed by a veterinarian. Injectable joint protectants (injections of glycosaminoglycans) work extremely well to relieve arthritic pain and are administered once a month. Even with these options, some cats still feel pain.
An Osteoarthritis Checklist
Is OA More Common Than You Think?