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Pet Advice

Arthritis in Cats

As high as 90% of cats over 12 years of age have some form of arthritis.

Arthritis is the irreversible and progressive deterioration of joints that causes pain and a reduction in joint motion. It affects cats of all ages but predominantly cats over10 years of age. Winter months worsen the symptoms of arthritis.

Signs

Arthritis is the irreversible and progressive deterioration of joints that causes pain and a reduction in joint motion. It affects cats of all ages but predominantly cats over10 years of age. Winter months worsen the symptoms of arthritis.

It is often hard to tell if your cat is in pain. Common signs of arthritis to look for:

  • Stiffness
  • Hesitation to jump from heights
  • Poor landing from jumping
  • Sleeping more
  • Rough fur from poor grooming
  • Long nails from less movement
  • Change in behaviour e.g. irritable, vocalisation

Management

Arthritis management is based on decreasing pain and clinical signs, slowing disease progression and improving the quality of life.

Keys to successful management invloves:

  • Pain management- Veterinary medicines, nutraceuticals and joint protective drugs such as injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycans (PSGAG)
  • Controlled exercise
  • Weight control
  • Diet control with foods rich in Omega fatty acids such as veterinary prescription diets

Homecare

Tips to help manage cats with arthritis:

  • A warm environment as colder weather can worsen symptoms
  • Placement of your cat's bed away from cold draughts
  • Soft but firm bedding
  • Ramps onto the couch or bed so your cat does not have to jump
  • Avoid stairs
  • Regular grooming
  • Maintain parasite control
  • Cut nails regularly
  • Weight loss if overweight, to take excessive pressure off the joints - this should be gradual and managed by the clinic to avoid sudden weight loss
  • Avoid rough play
  • Litter tray with a lowered wall for easy access

If you are concerned your cat may be in pain, make an appoitmernt to see one of our vets for an arthritis check and to discuss diagnosis and possible management options to help improve your cat's quality of life.

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