Sadly arthritis is one of those painful conditions which affects our pets, including cats – as well as humans. There is more detailed information in our pet advice centre – here is a summary of the key points.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease which commonly affects middle-aged to senior dogs and cats, although it can affect pets at any age.
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage in a joint erodes, causing the surface to become uneven. Joints can no longer glide past each other smoothly, meaning bones rub together and cause swelling and pain.
Over time, the friction causes extra bone to be produced and the arthritic joints become stiff.
What are the symptoms to watch out for?
Initial symptoms are subtle and will gradually worsen over time. You may notice some ‘lifestyle changes’ such as:
- Reluctance to jump – you may notice lots of anticipation prior to jumping onto the sofa or into the car, or even going up the stairs
- Reduced playing and exercise – leads to weight gain
- Sleeping more
- Cats may be reluctant to climb in and out of the litter tray
- Withdrawal from social interaction – for example, your pet doesn’t greet you at the door anymore, or aggression when touched
- Aggression towards companion animals.
- For some, urinating and defaecating can become painful.
What are the causes?
- Diet – increased risk with obesity.
- Trauma – such as a road traffic accident, previous bone break or surgery
- Genetics – hip/elbow dysplasia, patella luxation (this can lead to shifting of weight and worsening of the condition in other areas).
What are the treatment options?
Dependent on severity, your pet may need joint supplements or joint specific diets.
They may also need prescription medication, for example non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to help with the pain and inflammation.
For severe cases additional pain relief might be needed – we will discuss the best options for your pet with you.
We also offer a range of complementary therapies which can improve an arthritic pet’s quality of life, including –
- Laser therapy – this is a non-invasive therapy where the laser is either rolled over the problem joint, or if tolerated better, a non-contact version can be used
- Acupuncture – Ian Killian is trained to carry out acupuncture
- Hydrotherapy and physiotherapy referrals can also be made
Arthritis is a painful condition which affects many other animals, as well as cats.
If you think your pet may be suffering from arthritis, do book an appointment online.