Arthritis is common in older cats but it can affect cats of all ages too. It is also common to find arthritis in cats developing at the site of a previous injury or trauma.
How to spot arthritis in cats
If your cat has arthritis, you may notice:
- An inability to jump as they once did
- Changes in mobility
But they may not always display these symptoms. They might also:
- Hide more than normal
- Cry if your pick them up
- Be aggressive and run away if you try to handle them
Vets diagnose arthritis in cats by taking images of the joints. Any joint can be affected by arthritis and hips are amongst the most common. Imaging is usually carried out whilst the patient is sedated or anaesthetised. This is so that the joints can be positioned correctly without causing discomfort or distress.
Treatment of Arthritis in Cats
There are a number of products available with or without prescription that have been reported as helping to control arthritis in cats. However, it is essential that you speak to your local vet before administering anything to make sure that it is the right treatment. For example, cod liver oil has been used with varying effects but this has to be dosed very carefully for cats otherwise it can be toxic to them. Prescription painkillers maybe required to control pain and reduce inflammation. Never be tempted to give your cat licensed drugs that are safe for humans. The likes of ibuprofen and paracetemol are extremely dangerous to cats. This is a very important point in the care of all animals. Always keep remedies for human conditions for people and animal medicine for animals! Only ever give medications to your pets as advised by a veterinary surgeon.
The importance of diet and exercise in feline arthritis treatment
Being overweight will aggravate arthritis in cats. Keeping your cat fit and active may not guarantee to stop the condition developing but it can ease the effects. It can be difficult for cats with arthritis to exercise due to discomfort. This immobility can lead to weight gain which in turn leads to further discomfort and a vicious cycle begins. In order to combat this, your vet or vet nurse should be able to make a diet plan with you and monitor your cat’s progress. Special foods are available that can help to support good joint health, particularly the foods intended for older pets. The diets designed for mature pets cater for the differences in nutritional requirements between young and old animals. It’s important to feed your pet a diet that will support their individual requirements. Again, your vet or vet nurse will be able to guide you to the most appropriate product.
What to do if you suspect your cat is suffering from arthritis
If you suspect your cat might be suffering from arthritis, it is important you seek appropriate treatment from your local vet. The vets here at Calder Vets are highly experienced and you can arrange a visit with the nurse by visiting www.caldervets.co.uk and selecting your nearest branch. Calder Vets also has a referral hospital in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, where our highly qualified veterinary surgeons can discuss surgery options with you in the most extreme cases. It is essential you speak to your local vet to get advice and treatment for your pet as soon as possible.