Arthritis in Cats
Cats are graceful,
agile and athletic animals who are prone to osteoarthritis due to wear-and-tear and old age.
If your cat suddenly begins to limp badly, you should immediately rush
him or her to the vet. Arthritis in cats can develop as a result of an
injury (secondary arthritis), due to simple wear and tear as well as due
to genetic abnormalities.
The General Signs of Arthritis in Cats Will Include:
- Reduced motion
- Limping or abnormal movement
- Obvious pain
- Unusual aggressiveness (may indicate pain)
- Loss of appetite
The Two Common
Forms of Cat Arthritis Are:
Traumatic Arthritis (Sprain): This may be caused by sudden injury to a joint: i.e., following impact with a moving vehicle, the result of a fight with another cat, or due to an awkward fall.
Osteoarthritis: The shoulder and elbow joints are those most frequently affected joints in older cats. Common causes are recurrent episodes of traumatic arthritis (possibly due to a cat's athletic lifestyle), and dislocations or fractures of joints due to wear and tear.
How Is Arthritis
In Cats Diagnosed?
X rays of your cat are generally done to identify the underlying cause of arthritis. Analysis of the joint fluid is also done to determine the type(s) and number of cells affected. The vet may also ask for a blood test to check the symptoms of certain infectious diseases like Borrelia, Ehrlichia and Rickettsia. Occasionally, bacterial cultures of the joint fluid and joint capsule biopsies may also be required.
What Treatment Will My Cat Require?
This will depend on the cause and severity of the arthritis. Generally, it will include one or all of the following:
- Anti-inflammatory Medications: These should be used only sparingly and for short duration, as they can cause many undesirable side effects and many cats have had fatal reactions to these medications.
- Dietary Management: Weight control is an extremely important aspect of any arthritis pain management program.
- Surgery: Expensive and risky, but may help with your cat's pain.
- Glucosamine: Use a high quality liquid glucosamine product for your cat. This is your best bet and safest way to help your cat recover and is certainly the first thing to try before surgery.
What Is The Prognosis For My Cat?
The prognosis for your cat will depend on severity, age of the animal and the type of arthritis. It is suggested that you try glucosamine as a first line of defense before NSAIDs and certainly before surgery (unless there is a medical emergency). Glucosamine is inexpensive and, if given in liquid form, surprisingly easy to give to cats (due to it being derived from shellfish).