Arthritis in Cats
on December 8, 2011
Posted in Cats
Most people are familiar with arthritis in dogs but do not know that older cats also suffer from arthritis. Research shows that 100 percent of cats over 10 years of age have arthritis in one or more joint. The difference is that cats show more subtle signs of arthritis than dogs because cats are very good at hiding signs of disease.
Symptoms of arthritis can include stiffness on rising, reluctance to jump, obvious limp, litter box accidents ( because the poor kitty can’t jump into the box anymore) and personality changes ( aggression, depression or grumpiness). Cats who suffer from spinal arthritis may groom their backs excessively or dislike being touched or petted. If you think your older cat is having one of these problems, you should consult your veterinarian. He or she may want to run blood tests, do X-rays, ultrasounds or other procedures to make an accurate diagnosis as these symptoms can indicate other conditions.
So how do we treat arthritis in cats? Conventional treatments can include medications such as Non steroidal anti-inflammatories, prednisone, and neurological pain drugs. Personally I am not in favour of most of these treatments as cats can be sensitive to a lot of these drugs. A natural holistic approach is preferred.
Here is a list of natural treatments to help your arthritic kitty.
Weight loss is very important as excess weight puts more stress on painful joints.
Good homemade diet high in Omega 3s or a Mobility diet (if you don’t want to cook for your cat).
Supplements such as Glucosamine /Chondroitin, Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty Acids. There are specific formulations for cats and some of these are in a treat form.
Herbs and homeopathic remedies–Chinese and Western herbs can benefit your cat. Pet Wellbeing has a formula for cat arthritis called Agile Joints – Cat Arthritis and Joint Support. For specific on other herbs consult a holistic veterinarian.
Physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture. These techniques work really well with cats. Applying warmth and massage is something you can do at home. Exercise therapy is very effective but proper instruction is required. A veterinarian who specializes in rehab therapy can help with this. Acupuncture works extremely well for cats and most cats will tolerate needles and love acupuncture. A trained veterinary acupuncturist could administer this treatment.
There are many treatments for your old cat. Don’t let him suffer in silence.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan