Did you know that it’s not only humans who suffer from arthritis? It is estimated that one fifth of cats in the UK show signs of suffering from this debilitating condition too.
How to spot arthritis in cats
If your cat has arthritis, you may notice:
* An inability to jump as they once did
* Changes in mobility
But they may not always display these symptoms. They might also:
* Hide more than normal
* Cry if your pick them up
* Be aggressive and run away if you try to handle them
Arthritis is common in older cats but it can affect cats of all ages too. It is also common to find arthritis in cats developing at the site of a previous injury or trauma.
Vets diagnose arthritis in cats by taking images of the joints. Any joint can be affected by arthritis and hips are amongst the most common.
Imaging is usually carried out whilst the patient is sedated or anaesthetised. This is so that the joints can be positioned correctly without causing discomfort or distress.
Treatment of Arthritis in Cats
There are a number of products that can be recommended by your veterinary surgeon to help control arthritis in cats.
Never be tempted to give your cat licensed drugs that are safe for humans. The likes of ibuprofen and paracetemol are extremely dangerous to cats. This is a very important point in the care of all animals. Always keep remedies for human conditions for people and animal medicine for animals! Only ever give medications to your pets as advised by a veterinary surgeon.
The importance of diet and exercise in feline arthritis treatment
Being overweight will aggravate arthritis in cats. Keeping your cat fit and active may not guarantee to stop the condition developing but it can ease the effects.
It can be difficult for cats with arthritis to exercise due to discomfort. This immobility can lead to weight gain which in turn leads to further discomfort and a vicious cycle begins. In order to combat this, your vet or vet nurse should be able to make a diet plan with you and monitor your cat’s progress.
Special foods are available that can help to support good joint health, particularly the foods intended for older pets. The diets designed for mature pets cater for the differences in nutritional requirements between young and old animals. It’s important to feed your pet a diet that will support their individual requirements. Again, your vet or vet nurse will be able to guide you to the most appropriate product.