Arthritis in Cats
What is Degenerative Joint Disease?
Degenerative joint disease (often known as Arthritis) is inflammation of the joints. When arthritis develops, the cartilage lining of the joint wears down, causing inflammation, swelling and pain. Cartilage lining deteriorates because of disease, poor structure or development (e.g. hip dysplasia), unusual gait, conformation, extra weight gain, or joint trauma or surgery.
Joint cartilage in freely moving joints can degenerate over time, leading to a loss of joint mobility and, in many cases, to pain. This disease is characterized by the thinning of cartilage, the build-up of fluid inside the joint, and the development of bone outgrowths around the joint. Joint degeneration can be caused by trauma, infection, the body’s own immune system, or malformation during development. This leads to inflammation of the joint membrane, continued destruction and inflammation of the cartilage, and irregular joint function.
Signs of osteoarthritis include lameness, swelling of the joints, loss of muscle and thickening and scarring of the joint membrane. Eventually enough damage can occur if a grating sound can be heard during joint motion. X-rays show increased fluid inside the joint, soft tissue swelling around the joint, bone formation, hardening and thickening of the bone under the cartilage, and often narrowing of the joint space.
Treatments can be either medical or surgical. Medical care involves weight loss (if needed), exercise on soft surfaces, and warm compresses on affected joints. It can also require the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to minimize pain and inflammation. However, long-term use of these medications in cats can also cause gastrointestinal complications, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Corticosteroids also inhibit inflammation, but are usually given only for a brief period of time to prevent the harmful effects of continued use. Joint fluid inhibitors or other forms of pain relievers can also be used. Your veterinarian will prescribe appropriate medication based on the symptoms, age, and overall health of your dog.
Surgical options include joint fusion, joint replacement, joint cutting and amputation. The recovery outlook depends on the place and nature of the joint condition.
Arthritis in Cats
Symptoms of Arthritis
- Stiffness or slowness when getting up or down, or after resting
- Difficulty going up and/or down stairs, reluctance to jump for cats
- Decreased activity or a resistance to exercise
- Dragging back legs, worn toenails or decline in grooming for cats
Generally the pain with Arthritis is heightened after resting, exuberant exercise or cold weather. Talk to one of our vets to assess if your dog has Arthritis.
Arthritis in Cats
Unfortunately Arthritis can’t be cured. The key is to control the pain associated with arthritis and manage inflammation in the joints. With proper management Arthritis progression can be slowed. In order to manage the inflammation within the joints The House Call Vets recommends a focused plan:
Weight control is essential when it comes to managing Arthritis symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. Extra weight adds pressure on your dog’s already affected joints. Low calorie diets along with gentle exercise to maintain an ideal body weight is crucial for cats with Arthritis. We also recommend this course of action for cats who are at risk of developing arthritis due to factors such as breed, age or cats that have a history of joint trauma or surgery.
Regular Gentle Exercise
Walking and swimming are fantastic forms of exercise for cats with arthritis. The level of the exercise your dog can endure is assessed on a case by case basis. Regular short bursts of exercise is usually the best approach.
Consult A Vet For Effective Treatment
Arthritis can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, dietary supplements and chondroprotective agents. Your vet can prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and pain. Chondroprotective agents may help the body to repair cartilage and stimulate its work. Speak to your vet about whether these therapies are right for your pet.
Get Them A Comfortable Bed
An orthopedic pet bed made of memory foam can help protect the joints and bones of your pet. Providing a supporting bed is also very necessary for thin cats, whose bones would otherwise rub on hard surfaces. Some pet shops sell beds specially made for pets with arthritis.
Mount Ramps And Slip-free Flooring
Senior pets can have a hard time navigating stairs, hardwood floors and tile floors. There are ramps and cubes available to help your pet climb the stairs and get up or down from the sofas. Through putting rugs or carpets on slippery surfaces, your pet would also be much more steadier on their legs.
Think of all the moments that your loyal friend has made you feel better. It’s a wonderful time to return the favor. Massage can increase the mobility and endurance of your pet, boost circulation and help them relax. You can gently knead your pet’s rigid muscles (avoid placing direct pressure on your pet’s joints, which may be painful) or arrange a consultation with a licensed pet massage therapist who can take care of your pet.
Concentrate on grooming
Arthritic pets can’t clean themselves, particularly in those hard-to – reach places. For this reason, older pets should be cared for far more frequently than younger ones. Clean your pet’s hair daily to get rid of mats and tangles, and try to be gentle at all times.
Arthritis in Cats
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Healing damaged joints in cats
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4CYTE Granules or 4CYTE Epiitalis Forte Gel?
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