What Are The Signs Of Osteoarthritis
We often think that OA = lameness. In dogs, this is mostly true but lameness in cats tends to be less obvious. Instead, you need to look out for clues suggesting of arthritis such as:
- reluctance, hesitance or refusal to jump up or down
- jumping up to lower surfaces than previously
- difficulty going up or down stairs
- stiffness in the legs, especially after sleeping or resting for a while
- difficulty using the litter tray
- difficulty going through the cat flap
- increased irritability and grumpiness
- reduced activity level
- reduced frequency or time spent grooming
Because arthritis often goes undetected in cats, International Cat Care and the International Society of Feline Medicine have produced a ‘mobility checklist’ that you can download from here and use to see if there have been any changes in your cat that may be indicative of arthritis or joint pain.
Use Raised Food Bowls
- Make sure your cats food and water bowls are somewhere they can easily get to.
- Raising food and water bowls can help because bending down can be painful when you have arthritis. You can buy special raised bowls, or alternatively just place something solid underneath your cats bowl the lift it up to a height so they dont have to crouch to reach it. A pint glass full of water can be used as a water bowl.
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.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis In Cats
Arthritis is a progressive disease and symptoms develop and worsen over time. However, cats are very good at hiding symptoms of pain so it can be difficult to identify. You may notice that your cat becomes reluctant to play or use stairs. They may avoid jumping up or down from high ledges that previously wouldnt pose a problem for them.
The condition becomes worse in cold weather, so if they appear stiff or slow during the winter months, this could be a sign of arthritis.
Other symptoms include:
- reduced grooming with matting in hard-to-reach areas
- irritability and a change in attitude
- less activity .
If you think your cat may be showing signs of arthritis, speak to your vet for a complete health check and advice. They may recommend further x-rays or other scans to diagnose the condition.
What Is Feline Osteoarthritis
Feline osteoarthritis, a form of degenerative joint disease, is caused by the wearing away of joint cartilage . Without this cushion, adjacent bones are able to rub against each other, resulting in debilitating pain.
The disease most commonly affects the spine, hip, knee, ankle, and elbow joints in cats. And while the root cause of osteoarthritis in cats isn’t always known, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons says that injuries, abnormally shaped joints, and normal, everyday wear-and-tear can be to blame. Sadly, the condition is incredibly common. In a 2011 study, 61% of cats ages six years and older had X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in at least one joint, and 48% were affected in more than one joint. The study also found that disease prevalence increases with age. In other words, the older your cat gets, the more likely it is that she will have at least one arthritic joint. However, even young cats can be affected.
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Treatments For Arthritis In Cats
Up until recently, there have not been any licensed drugs for the long-term control of arthritis in cats. Many products that are safe for use in humans and widely available over the counter, such as aspirin, paracetemol and ibuprofen can be extremely dangerous if used in cats. In fact, the use of such drugs by misinformed owners is one of the most common causes of poisoning in cats.
Some anti-arthritic drugs with a veterinary licence for dogs have been used in cats, but with extreme caution, not only because of the cat’s known sensitivity to that group of drugs, but also because the canine preparations are not in a dosage size that are designed to be given to cats.
Fda Approves Novel Treatment To Control Pain In Cats With Osteoarthritis First Monoclonal Antibody Drug For Use In Any Animal Species
- For Immediate Release:
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Solensia , the first treatment for the control of pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats and the first monoclonal antibody new animal drug approved by the FDA for use in any animal species.
Frunevetmab, the active ingredient in Solensia, is a cat-specific monoclonal antibody designed to recognize and attach to a protein called nerve growth factor that is involved in the regulation of pain. When frunevetmab binds to NGF, it prevents the pain signal from reaching the brain.
Treatment options for cats with osteoarthritis are very limited. Advancements in modern veterinary medicine have been instrumental in extending the lives of many animals, including cats. But with longer lives come chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, said Steven M. Solomon, M.P.H., D.V.M., director of the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine. Todays approval marks the first treatment option to help provide relief to cats that are suffering from this condition and may significantly improve their quality of life. We also hope that todays approval of the first monoclonal antibody by the FDA for any animal species will expand research and development of other monoclonal antibody products to treat animal diseases.
The FDA granted approval of Solensia to Zoetis Inc.
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Therapy For Cat Arthritis
Therapy for arthritic cats is important in terms of relieving chronic pain and strengthening the cats joint structures. Here are some of the best therapy options for cats with arthritis:
- Injectable Joint Protectants. Regular use of injectable joint protectants helps with pain relief. However, the downside of this treatment is that they need to be applied every four weeks. Since the procedure can be painful, some cats require sedation.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture in cats is not a well-studied area. However, anecdotal reports are promising and support the use of this old Chinese technique. It includes the insertion of fine needles at specific points of the cats body to promote pain relief.
- Cold Laser Therapy. Also known as photobiomodulation , cold laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that eases pain and reduces inflammation. During the therapy, the vet puts a small light-emitting device on the cats body. The emitted light is therapeutic.
- Physical Therapy. Physical rehabilitation is another option for arthritic cats. There are several physical therapy options, such as massages, passive range of motion , and stretching. It is advisable to talk to a physician in terms of what is best for your cat.
Signs Of Arthritis In Cats
Diagnosing a cat with arthritis is much more challenging than in dogs. A decrease in a dogs range of motion along with a reluctance to be touched are often the first signs of arthritis pain in dogs. Whereas cats can naturally resist attention and refuse to be touched for no reason. The most noticeable sign a feline has arthritis is often a noticeable drop in activity level. Other signs of feline arthritis include:
- A change in the way they walk and may cause the cat to limp
- Joint stiffness, especially after long periods of inactivity
- Reluctance to use the stairs or an increased caution when on the stairs
- Change in personality, such as increased irritability and aggression
- Hiding or sleeping more often
- Not jumping as high as they could before
- Struggling to use the litter box
Licensed Vet Tech, Amber LaRock says, Feline arthritis often causes joint stiffness and pain, so the symptoms of this condition will often reflect that. The most common signs of feline arthritis include stiff movements when walking, difficulty getting up and down, hesitance to jump on furniture or into cat trees, decreased flexibility, and even swollen joints.
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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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How Can I Help My Cat’s Arthritis
It has been suspected for a long time that certain substances in the diet can help to control arthritis in a range of species. For a long time, cod liver oil has been used with varying effects – but cats have to be dosed very carefully, or it can have toxic effects.
More recently, supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, that help the cartilage that lines the bone within a joint to heal, have become available for cats. They are safe, and effective in mild cases, but require long-term daily dosing in either capsule or powder form, which many cat owners find challenging.
There are other dietary products that have been used to try and control arthritis in cats, such as those containing green-lipped mussel extracts, with varying success.
More recently, Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline j/d has become available, which has been shown to have a marked anti-inflammatory effect upon the joints. It achieves this by the balance of fish oils within the food, and in particular the balance between what are known as Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Because of the high levels of fish oil in the diet, it is highly palatable to most cats, but it is also quite high in calories, so care must be taken to ensure that cats on the food do not become overweight.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In Cats
Usually, the bones in your catâs body slide past each other easily and are protected by a healthy joint fluid and cartilage. When a cat has arthritis, the smooth surface is worn down, and the bones grind against each other like sandpaper.
Symptoms of arthritis in cats include:
- Reluctance or hesitance to jump up or down
- Difficulty going up or down stairs
- Hiding or sleeping more than normal
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What Are Monoclonal Antibodies And How Can They Help With The Treatment Of Cats With Arthritis
Monoclonal antibiotics are the newest treatment option for cats with arthritis. Monoclonal antibodies are designed to attach selectively to a specific target, in this case, NGF . In arthritic joints, NGF is elevated and has a role in pain modulation.
Arthritis in cats is a disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. Arthritis is very common in middle-aged to older cats and can be difficult to spot as cats hide symptoms of pain very well. If your cat has been diagnosed with feline arthritis, there are treatment options available for keeping them happy and healthy. Some treatment options include joint supplements, omega fatty acids, physical therapy, NSAIDs, or analgesics. Talk to your veterinarian about which treatment option will work best for you based on your individual needs so you can keep your pet feeling their best!
What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In Cats
So if cats often don’t show the typical signs of lameness, how can we recognise the condition? It seems that affected cats can show a variety of signs, such as hiding away more than normal, crying if picked up, aggression, and running away if handled.
But by far the most common signs are an unwillingness to jump, and if they do, a reduction in the height they are prepared to leap. This means that the owner of an affected cat will often notice subtle changes in their pet’s behaviour patterns – but often not appreciate the cause.
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Demonstrates Robust Clinical Efficacy
For feline acute pain, there should be robust evidence of clinical efficacy for the target problems, such as perioperative pain control. For feline chronic pain conditions, efficacy should be demonstrated for alleviation of prolonged, maladaptive pain associated with chronic disease in cats, such as degenerative joint disease, spinal pain, stomatitis, cystitis, and cancer. Until very recently, efficacy of NSAIDs was very difficult to measure, and there was little evidence they provided pain relief. A recent breakthrough in clinical study design, along with a Clinical Metrology Instrument, may now allow NSAIDs to be tested for efficacy in a wide variety of chronic diseases.15
What Ingredients To Look For In Feline Joint Supplements
I usually recommend starting with Glucosamine and MSM, and as your cat ages and possible symptoms arise, then you can find ones with more ingredients, as per the list below:
- Glucosamine helps slow down collagen degradation and inhibit inflammation producing factors.
- MSM crucial for connective tissue and an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. It may also have hepatoprotective properties as well . Helps with pain due to how it works.
- Boswellia serrata good anti-inflammatory activity.
- Superoxide Dismutase helps to scavenge molecules known to cause damage to tissues.
- Yucca schidigera a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Chondroitin Sulfate acts as an anti-inflammatory agent as well as helps reduce the breakdown of collagen.
Consult your veterinarian before starting a joint supplement for their recommendation on the best one for your pet, and to be sure it is safe if your cat has any other health issues. Whatever you and your veterinarian decide for your cat’s joint supplement, be sure that it isnt adding too many additional calories to your cats diet. Excessive weight and obesity in cats can worsen their arthritic pain .
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Weight Loss And Management
A key part of arthritis care for cats is managing their weight. Extra weight puts more pressure on a cats joints, which can worsen the pain of arthritis. If your arthritic cat is obese or overweight, your veterinarian will likely recommend a weight loss program, which could include a special diet and an exercise regimen. Depending on the severity of arthritis, your cat may not be able to do too much in the way of exercise, but your veterinarian can give you a safe plan for weight reduction.
If your cat is at a healthy weight, its important to maintain it. For instance, avoid the temptation to offer extra treats and always measure out food portions precisely.
How Long Will A Cat With Arthritis Live
Your cats arthritis will continue to progress over time. Although theres no cure for arthritis, by working closely with your vet, there are lots of ways you can control the symptoms and keep your cat comfortable.
With long-term management, most cats will have a good quality of life for many years and for a lot of cats, well controlled arthritis wont shorten their lives.
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How Can I Prevent Cat Arthritis
It is not possible to completely prevent arthritis in cats.
However, there are several things cat owners can do to minimize the risk or at least delay the onset of arthritis in cats. Here are some simple and helpful tips:
- Weight Management. The first step toward arthritis prevention is weight control. Obesity is a risk factor for feline arthritis. Therefore, it is important to keep your cat lean and in shape. The best way is to provide proper food and promote physical activity.
- Physical Exercise. As mentioned, physical activity is vital for keeping your cats body lean and healthy. Activity also helps strengthen the cats joints and surrounding tissues, thus decreasing the risk of arthritic changes.
- Joint Supplements. Joint supplements can be used to support joint health and delay arthritic changes. If your cat belongs to an arthritis-prone breed, it is important to start supplementing at an early age.
Regular Checkups. Finally, pet owners need to practice regular vet checkups at the vet. Early diagnosis is critical for successful arthritis treatment. Since vet care can be costly, we suggest investing in good pet insurance, like OneVet.
The Problem With Conventional Treatments For Arthritis In Cats
Veterinarians often prescribe a variety of medications to treat arthritis, but these often arent well tolerated by cats. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, acetaminophen, and aspirin, as well as anti-inflammatory medications like corticosteroids. Using these medications long-term can contribute to more serious health problems later on, in addition to side effects in the short term as well.
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How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
Arthritis is mainly diagnosed on history and physical examination. In the history, we’re looking at age, signs and previous reports of injury/trauma.On physical examination, we’re looking for:
- visible joint deformity
- grating detected with joint movement
- increased fluid in the joint
- thickened joint capsule
- joint instability
We make suggest taking some X-rays. These help rule of other causes of joint pain and assess the degree of bony changes in the joint. It should be noted that the severity of changes on X-ray doesn’t necessarily match the severity of clinical disease. We may see lots of degenerative change on X-ray but have a cat that’s walking around pretty well.Blood and urine tests are not usually needed to diagnose or investigate arthritis. But we may recommend them if we’re concerned about other conditions or to check for contraindications before starting medications.