What You Need to Know About Osteoarthritis and How to Help Your Cat

When it comes to osteorarthritis, many owners are unaware that there are ways in which they can help and protect their cat from unnecessary harm.

In fact, animal experts and veterinarians continue to emphasize that owners should maintain a distinct awareness in terms of understanding the needs of their pet. At the same time, osteoarthritis can be an underlying issue which is the result of other diseases such as hip dyslplasia. In this sense, the disease is much harder to detect and you may not realize that your cat is experiencing this common disease. However, statistics show that more than 85% of cats over the age of twelve are likely to incur changes to their skeletal which will affect the impact of their joints. In this article, we will take a look at this common disease, the symptoms and recommend treatments to ensure the best possible health for your cat.

What is Osteoarthritis in Your Cat?

As you may know, osteoarthritis impacts most cats in their latter years and this unfortunate disease can be highly painful and discomforting for your cat. Simply put, when cartilage disappears from the joints of your cats bones, there is no longer a cushion on which the bone can be supported. For this reason, there is friction between the bones and hence, the muscles, tendons and ligaments experience quite an excrutiating pain. Needless to say, at this point your cat will have trouble moving around and be less active on a regular basis. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis in your cat:

Common Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Your Cat Indeed, identifiying osteoarthiritis in your cat is not always a straightforward task but here are just a few common behaviour which are often associated with the disease:

  • Visible decline in the mobility of your cat

  • Your cat is sleeping more often

  • Less time spent grooming

  • Your cat is increasing absent or spending more time alone

  • Reduced reach in terms of how height your cat can jump

  • Your cat has a limp or seems particularly sluggish

  • Dramatic increase or decrease in weight

  • Is your cat purring less or do they seem unhappy in general?

That being said, the above are merely some suggestions in terms of the signs of osteoarthritis and these are also associated with other diseases. If unsure, the best practice is always to contact your local veterinarian and avail of opportunities to have an expert assess the health of your beloved pet.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis in Your Cat

Although arthritis is a common ailment for animals, you may be unsure in terms of the best practices for treating osteoarthiritis in your cat. Thankfully, treatment is rather straightforward and there are several methods which can be used to relive your cat of the pain and discomfort involved.

  • Encourage your cat to get outside more often and try to ensure they are not lounging around the house for too long during the day. On the other hand, you can also buy toys or gadgets to distract and entertain your cat.

  • Purchase some supplements to help with inflammation and assist when it comes to strengthening the affected joints.

  • Ask your local vet regarding anti inflammatory drugs which can alleviate some of the pain involved.

  • Control the diet of your cat and make sure that they are not so overweight as to increase pressure not the affected joints. In fact, obesity is said to be one of the main causes of osteoarthiritis and a low calorie diet can greatly improve their chances of eliminating pain.

Orthopaedic Examination for Osteoarthiritis

As you might have guessed, your cats behaviour is the key to detecting osteoarthiritis but owners are often uncomfortable with taking on this tricky task. For this reason, orthopaedic examination involves video recording the cats behaviour and submitting the evidence to an expert for professional opinion. For example, you can video your cat climbing walls and stairs or even acting in a way that seems unusual.

On the other hand, a physical examination will check for swelling or inflammation of certain joints while the cats reaction to being touched in certain areas can also indicate potential disease. At the same time, there is not always pain when it comes to osteoarthiritis and radiographic DJD is another means through which this unfortunate disease can be diagnosed.

How to Confirm the Diagnosis?

Experts can often diagnose your cat in a matter of minutes but radiographs are usually the best way to confirm the diagnosis of osteoarthiritis in your cat. In such an instance, both ketamine and midazalom are used during sedation and radiographic changes can identify patterns which correlate with certain clinical signs. In other words, a combination of graphs, symptoms and physical examination is the best way to confirm a diagnosis.

Nutrition, Supplements and Diet

As already mentioned, your cats diet is essential in terms of combatting or preventing osteoarthiritis. In this respect, supplements are a common aid for owners who can infuse properties which regenerate the cartilage and prevent stiffness in the joints of their cat. That being said, there is no specific proof that these supplements work over long periods and experts often recommend them as a last resort rather than a solid solution.

Changing the Environment

As mentioned, cats can experience difficulties when it comes to moving about and owners can make life easier for their pets by changing certain aspects of the environment. Moving the feeding bowls or litter tray to a more accessible location is a good idea while placing objects against the garden wall can assist your cat with making the jump. If you have a cat flap, it might be an idea to make sure this is not too stiff and easily bypassed by your pet.

Using Drugs to Treat Osteoarthiritis in Your Cat

In case you might be asking yourself, it is perfectly safe to provide drug therapy to your cat. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs without steroids are fine when it comes to medical treatment. More specifically, meloxicam, amantadine, and tramadol is often available but there is sometimes a license for theseparticular drugs. Furthermore, multimodal therapy is a common treatment and drugs are usually an extra aid in terms of combatting the disease.

Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) for Osteoarthiritis in Your Cat

Therapy is central to treating the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis in your cat. Although many forms of therapy are thrown around in the online world, low level light therapy is proving to be one of the most effective ways to decrease inflammation and pain while increasing the healing process. In case you might be wondering, PetThera is a leading therapeutic device which enables owners to treat their cats and improve the quality of their pets life from the comfort of their own home.

Hydrotherapy, Stem Cell Therapy and Alternate Methods

Plasma protein can be injected to reduce inflammation and repair damaged tissues in the joints of your cat. You may know that similar methods are used with both humans and dogs and recent studies have produced positive results. However, it must be noted that no conclusive studies have proven this to be the case in cats and the results are merely speculative. Hydrotherapy is another possibility and relates to procedures in which a veterinarian will use exercises and massage to reduce discomfort for your cat. Similarly, heat therapy and acupuncture are commonly used in correlation with certain drugs to treat osteoarthiritis.

Surgery for Osteoarthiritis in Your Cat

Indeed, surgery is sometimes used to treat ruptures, dysplasia, and trauma in the joints of cats. In fact, there are many circumstances in which your cat may require surgery such as subchondral bone sclerosis or synovitis and surgery is often an effected measure to alleviate such issues. Arthroscopic flushing is also a great was to treat exisiting arthritis in the joint but overall, this is usually the last option an owner will explore for treating osteoarthiritis in their cat.

As you can see, Osteoarthiritis is quite common in cats and this is certainly the case with cats over the age of eleven years. If you wish to diagnose your pet, the above information is a good starting point but as always, professional assessment is the best way to detect this troublesome disease. Either way, you do not need experts to know that you should pay attention to your pet and take time to care for them in the best way possible.

Kristine Marzolf