Arthritis In Maine Coons: Prevention
The number one thing you can do to prevent arthritis is your cats diet and exercise. Obesity is literally the number one cause of many feline ailments and can be managed by owners. Give your kitty instant relief by helping him lose a few pounds and getting some additional light exercise.
My cat is not a Maine Coon, but I am the first one to admit, he is too chunky. Since obesity is the number one cause of Maine Coons health issues, food management can be an immediate way to help him lose some weight. Here is a very good video illustrating the tips you can implement now. I know I will be doing a few immediately!
How To Spot Arthritis In Cats
Arthritis is one of the most common ailments seen in middle-aged to older pets. Even younger cats, under the right circumstances, can suffer from arthritic changes. Arthritis causes changes within the affected joints that are painful for the affected pet. This pain is responsible for many of the signs associated with arthritis in cats. Here are seven of those common signs.
What To Do If You Suspect Your Cat Is Suffering From Arthritis
If you suspect your cat might be suffering from arthritis, it is important you seek appropriate treatment from your local vet. The vets here at Calder Vets are highly experienced and you can arrange a visit with the nurse by visiting www.caldervets.co.uk and selecting your nearest branch. Calder Vets also has a referral hospital in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, where our highly qualified veterinary surgeons can discuss surgery options with you in the most extreme cases. It is essential you speak to your local vet to get advice and treatment for your pet as soon as possible.
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Give Your Cat A Comfortable Bed
- Place a selection of beds around your home for your cat to choose from. Remember to put them at several at different heights, your cat may not be able to jump as high up as they used to.
- Orthopaedic memory foam beds can be really comfortable for cats with arthritis.
- A heated bed can naturally help sooth your cats joints.
Joint Supplements And Nutraceuticals
Glucosamine and chondroitin – the two most common joint supplements. They have a positive influence on cartilage health by improving cartilage repair and maintenance in the joints.
Essential fatty acids – The omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects.
Diet Therapeutic diets for arthritis in cats have become available that contain omega-3 fatty acids as well as glucosamine and chondroitin. The Royal Canin diet also contains green lipped mussel extract.
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What We Can Do To Help A Cat With Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition affecting cats of all ages but mostly older cats. Fortunately there are many ways to slow the progression of arthritis and treat the associated pain.
Its important to work with your veterinarian to design an arthritis management program. Arthritis management should be a team approach and you are the most important members of that team. You know the behaviours of your own cats best and will be able to help judge how the treatments are working.
How Is Cat Arthritis Treated
There are a few different treatment options available for cats with arthritis:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . The most common treatment for cat arthritis, NSAIDs are prescribed by a licensed veterinarian who can help determine the duration and type of treatment.
- Pain management medication. In some cases, cats will be given painkilling drugs in cases where non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not appropriate or not sufficient.
- Injectable joint protectants. This treatment helps relieve arthritic pain. It involves a veterinarian giving injections of glycosaminoglycans every four weeks or so to the cat.
- Acupuncture. Although the studies regarding acupuncture for cat arthritis are limited, some cats may benefit from it. Acupuncture is an old healing practice in Chinese medicine where needles are placed at specific points in the body to relieve pain.
- Cold laser therapy or photobiomodulation . This noninvasive and painless treatment allows a vet to move a small device that emits therapeutic light waves across your pets body, on top of their fur. This type of treatment has been shown to ease pain and decrease inflammation.
If you suspect your cat has arthritis, a licensed veterinarian can help determine the best treatment option for your cat.
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Change In Personality And Behavior
Tied in with this, and my number 9 sign of arthritis in cats, is them seeming to be grumpy when handled. They may just seem to grumble or go rigid. They might though hiss or even scratch or try and bit when you pick them up, quite out of character.
And so at number 10 we have a change of character with aggression and grumpiness being hallmarks of severe pain being present. You might just think your cat is getting old and cantankerous. In reality they are just in constant pain and it’s no surprise they become permanently grumpy. Take that pain away and you will give them a new lease of life!
So those are my 10 signs of arthritis in cats. If you notice any of them make sure you get your cat checked out by your vet. Your cat deserves to be pain free in their old age so let them have the quality of life they deserve.
What signs have you noticed in your cat that makes you think they have arthritis? I’d love to read them in the comments below.
Our Pets Health: because they’re family.
Signs That Your Cat Might Have Arthritis
Arthritis isn’t just a condition suffered by people cats can develop it, too. While it seems to be that , older cats can still suffer from it, and it can decrease their quality of life.
Cats don’t usually cry when they’re in pain, and that can confuse some owners. Our feline companions are often stoic, and they may try to hide their pain from us, so it’s important to know how to decode their behaviors. Here, we explore some of the signs to watch for that might indicate your cat has arthritis.
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Your Cats Pain Can Be Relieved
Cats love the birds eye view, like jumping up to the windowsill for birdwatching or finding that perfect sunny spot. When those favorite spots seem out of reach for your cat, you may be seeing signs of osteoarthritis pain.
Remember that you are the best person to notice subtle signs and changes in your cats behavior that may signal arthritis. Be sure to mention these to your veterinarian and work together to develop a plan to keep your cat happy, healthy, and pain-free.
Lifestyle And Environmental Changes
Make your cats environment as arthritis-friendly as possible with these changes:
- If your cat is overweight, discuss a weight loss plan with your vet to help relieve some pressure on your cats joints
- Provide soft, easily accessible beds in low places
- Give access to safe heat sources such as placing a bed in a sun spot
- Place steps or a ramp in elevated areas that your cat likes to frequent, such as the couch
- Use an uncovered litter box, with at least one low side
- Put food and water at floor level in raised bowls
- Groom and clean your cat, including trimming nails
Try to keep everything your cat needs on one level of your home so your cat doesnt have to climb stairs unnecessarily.
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Caring For Your Arthritic Cat At Home
While osteoarthritis cant be reversed, you can help manage your cats discomfort as well as improve his quality of life. Consider the following changes to improve your senior cats quality of life:
- Cats love to sit and observe from above, so placing ramps or modified steps to access higher spots on their cat tree or your bed allows them to go up/down with less difficulty.
- Add non-slip surfaces like rubber bottom throw rugs to increase traction, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors.
- Add soft, thick, comfortable cat beds in multiple places throughout your home.
- Avoid interactions with active family members including kittens, puppies, and children as painful senior cats can react aggressively by biting and scratching.
- Make sure the entrance to the litter box is low for easier entry and exit. Add litter boxes to your home especially for multi-cat or multi-level homes. You can cut down the entrance to the litter box using a box cutter if necessary. Fine litter is often softer and easier to move for senior cats with OA. For more information about choosing cat litter and litter box click on this link!
- Invest in a baby scale to monitor your senior cats weight. Any significant weight changes should be discussed with your vet.
Are There Other Signs Of Oa Besides Difficulty Jumping Up Into A Window
Cats can exhibit many different signs when they have OA, and they do not necessarily demonstrate all the same signs all of the time. The most common signs cat owners may notice include:
- Difficulty getting up and down
- Walking stiffly
- Lameness in one or more legs
- Reluctance to go up and/or down stairs
- Reluctance to jump up or down
- Stiff, swollen, or sore joints
- Reluctance to be touched on some parts of the body
- Unexpected aggression towards other cats or towards humans
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Osteoarthritis In Older Cats
This is a chronic condition resulting in the degeneration of the joint which causes erosion of the cartilage. New bone forms around the edges of the joint the joint swells and becomes painful, the normal cartilage that cushions and protects the joints has degenerated.
Did you know?
A cats skeleton has about 10% more bones than a human body. The skeleton of a feline needs to be strong and flexible but also light.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Cats
Signs of arthritis in cats can include:
- Difficulty jumping or using the stairs
- More prominent shoulder blades
- Hiding away or sleeping more than usual
- Unkempt or matted fur especially along the back and around the bottom, because your cat will find it difficult or painful to twist to groom these areas
- Swollen or hot joints
- Being a bit more grumpy than usual, especially when you go to touch them.
Signs of arthritis can be hard to spot as they can be subtle and come on gradually. It can be helpful to think back to what your cat was like a few months or even years ago when trying to think if they are showing any of these signs.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Has Arthritis
The signs of arthritis in cats can be subtle, says Jennifer Coates, DVM, who serves on the advisory board for Pet News Daily. Pet parents might notice that their cats become less mobile and appear stiff, particularly after rest.
Signs that your cat may have arthritis include:
- Hesitance to jump onto or off of high surfaces
- Difficulty climbing stairs
- Stiffness especially after sleeping or resting
- Problems using the litter box, including going outside the box
- Trouble going through the cat door
- Reduced activity or play level
- Noticeable lack of grooming, such as scruffy coat
- Over-grooming of painful joints
- Resistance to being handled or pet
Some cats may limp, but this is less common. Cats with arthritis may also experience a loss of appetite, weight loss, or depression. Osteoarthritis may occur in any joint, but is most common in the limbs and the spine, Dr. Fossum explains.
If you arent sure, the International Society of Feline Medicine provides a mobility checklist to give you an idea of if your cat is showing signs of arthritis.
How To Reduce Arthritis Symptoms In Cats
While you can’t prevent feline arthritis, there are some steps you can take to reduce the severity of signs and maintain a good quality of life for your cat.
Maintaining your cat at a healthy weight is essential. If an arthritic cat becomes overweight this places additional strain on already painful joints. If your arthritic cat is already overweight, talk with your veterinarian about how to safely encourage weight loss. Regulating your cat’s diet and encouraging exercise are the best ways to maintain your cat’s body weight. Your veterinarian may recommend a specific diet that promotes weight loss. Ration your pet’s food and treats and experiment with different types of toys to figure out which ones your cat prefers and keeps your cat the most active.
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Causes Of Arthritis In Cats
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage within the joint becomes damaged. In a normal cat, each joint contains cartilage that acts as a buffer between the bony surfaces. The cartilage creates a “cushion” between the bones that form the joint.
When the cartilage within a joint becomes damaged, a cascade of events is unleashed which eventually leads to the destruction of the cartilage. Once the cartilage within the joint is destroyed, the two bones will rub together because there is no longer a cushion between them. When this occurs, the bones will become damaged resulting in arthritis.
How To Tell If Your Cat Has Arthritis
By | Submitted On December 07, 2009
Cat arthritis usually affect older cats just like with humans, as people get older. And just like humans they are suffering generally with the type of arthritis called the osteoarthritis. This occur when the cartilage within the bone weaken and the bones that begin to stroke against each one and another resulting inflammation and pain.
Arthritis of cats is mainly noticed with older cats and has no certain cause other than the day to day decrement though joint disease, injury or a predisposition might be in their genes can also be a factor. A veterinarian is considered the only person that has the ability to diagnose the predicament by performing x-rays of the cat’s bones to determine if there is any decrement on the bones. But, the signs of cat arthritis are typically quite conclusive such as reluctant to want to go out, stiff leg walking, reduction in routine like walking, playing and jumping, crying when raised or touched and hard to stand up. If you notice at least one or more signs better bring your pet to a veterinarian to diagnose and seek the right treatment.
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Managing Arthritis In Cats
Many options should be considered when managing a cat with arthritis, and it is not just about finding the right tablet to control the disease!
Environmental enrichment for arthritic cats
Modifying the environment in many ways can greatly help to maintain quality of life for an arthritic cat. Things to consider include:
- Use of soft, comfortable beds placed in easily accessible, quiet, draft-free locations use of igloo beds can make an older cat feel warm and secure
- Provision of a series of steps or a ramp to allow cats to access favoured higher sites
- Make sure the cat flap is very easy to open, and if necessary tie it open so the cat doesnt need to push through
- Always have a litter tray inside and one that has at least one low side for easy access
- Make sure food and water are easily accessible, at floor level or with steps up to higher levels
- Make sure the cat doesnt have to go up or down stairs to access food, water, or litter trays
- Spend time grooming and cleaning an arthritic cat as this may be difficult for them
- Overgrown claws need regular cutting
Diet and dietary supplements
Obesity or being overweight will exacerbate arthritis and so should be avoided. Careful weight management is therefore very important for older cats. If your cat is overweight, they will benefit from carefully controlled weight loss, supervised by your vet. Your vet may also recommend a special diet to help achieve this safely and effectively.
When Should You Talk To Your Vet About Your Cats Arthritis
If your senior cat has been diagnosed with OA and is under the care of a vet, continue monitoring for changes in your cats behavior and activity as well as appetite changes, litter box habits, weight changes, etc.
If your senior cat is taking prescription medication, monitor for decreased or no appetite, soft stool, diarrhea, or dark stool. Call your vet right away if you notice any of these changes.
Sudden lameness or inability to move front or back leg requires immediate veterinary care.
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Signs Of Osteoarthritis In Cats
Cats often hide pain and discomfort very well. This makes it difficult to tell when theyre hurting until the pain becomes severe. If your cat has arthritis, you might notice the following:
- Hesitant to move or jump up/down furniture/cat tree, etc.
- Limping or stiffness after exercise or after resting
- Irritable, non-typical behavior when touched or approached
- Eliminating outside the litter box
- Weight loss
Five Things About Cat Pain:
While its quite obvious and intuitive that a broken bone, gaping wound, or surgical procedure will likely be painful to your cat, those arent the only reasons for pain. There are lots of other common conditions that cause pain that often goes unrecognized by cat owners and therefore untreated by their veterinarians as we cant ask our patients how they are feeling today!
If your cat has been diagnosed with any of the conditions below, be sure to speak with your veterinarian to make sure that any painful aspect of the condition is being treated properly. In fact, if your cat is diagnosed with any medical condition, it is always a good idea to ask your veterinarian if there is any pain component. If there is, ask what options there are for treating the pain.
- Cancer: Especially bone cancer, squamous cell carcinomas of the mouth, any type of cancer that enlarges a capsular organ and tumors that press on important internal structures
- Resorptive tooth lesions
- Eye problems such as glaucoma, uveitis, or corneal ulcers
- Feline Aortic Thromboembolism
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