Hello, my name is Catherine. I have long loved animals and have had several of my own over the years. Sadly, I saw two of my cats suffer with feline cancer, one of my dogs had arthritis, and, of course, we faced the usual calamities and injuries pets often face. However, I have had to navigate this on a relatively restricted budget, and through the years, I have gotten quite proficient at that. I work at a library and love doing research on pets and veterinary care as well as a range of other topics. I also love to write so decided to put my info in a blog. Please, explore and enjoy!
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the joints. This inflammation occurs when cartilage at the joints deteriorates, and although osteoarthritis is most commonly found in older cats, the condition can develop at any age. It's not always possible to pin down exactly why a cat develops this condition, but it can be brought on by recent or historic trauma. Being very overweight can also put your cat at risk of osteoarthritis due to the wear and tear on their joints that occurs when carrying extra weight. Additionally, it's thought that underlying autoimmune disease can play a role in the development of this type of arthritis. The damage caused by osteoarthritis tends to be progressive, so it's important to try and get your cat's symptoms under control as soon as possible to maximise their quality of life. Read on to learn more about osteoarthritis in cats.
Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
Cats do a good job of hiding signs of illness, which is instinctual, so the signs of osteoarthritis aren't always immediately apparent. Additionally, as this illness tends to develop slowly over a period of time, your cat is unlikely to wake up one day and suddenly be lame. Symptoms of osteoarthritis are usually subtle and often present as your cat having difficulty jumping up to their favourite spot, decreased physical activity, being unable to groom themselves or struggling to get in and out of their litter box. If you notice even slight changes to their mobility, especially if you have an older cat, it's best to have them checked over by your vet.
Diagnosing And Treating Osteoarthritis
Your vet will take your cat's health history into consideration when making their diagnosis and will carry out a thorough exam with the aim of assessing the range of motion in their joints and establishing whether there are any noticeable joint swelling or changes to your cat's gait. As you may imagine, not all cats are thrilled to undergo a physical examination, so it's often necessary for your vet to use diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray, to confirm their suspicions and determine the degree of damage to the affected joints.
There's currently no cure for osteoarthritis, so the goal of treatment is to prevent further joint deterioration and ease your cat's symptoms. Corticosteroids, anti-inflammatories and painkillers may be prescribed, and your vet may also recommend physiotherapy to improve your cat's joint mobility and tone in the surrounding muscles. If your cat is overweight, your vet can formulate a suitable weight loss program that will ensure they still get all the required nutrients for health. In some situations, surgery may be required to replace a severely damaged joint, but this tends to be recommended only when more conservative treatment options have not been successful.
For more information on veterinary services, contact a professional near you.