It can often be difficult to work out whether your cat is suffering from the effects of arthritis as the symptoms are often restrained. Your cat is not likely to walk any differently but there could be other signs that you should be aware of that could affect their mobility. Jumping may be limited and they may not want to be stroked or even brushed, even small signs such as going to the toilet in places other than their litterbox could suggest that there is an underlying medical condition.
Unlike dogs, cats can be tricky when it comes to identifying painful joints. X-rays can help to pinpoint the areas but they are not always accurate. A vet will diagnose arthritis by the way in which you describe their behaviour as well as any other symptoms.
Keeping your cat comfortable
Treating a cat for arthritis can be difficult because some drugs can lead to problems. Therefore, all drugs administered should be registered for use in cats and the exact dosage has to be given. The most common on the market are Metacam 30ml oral suspension and previcox 227mg tablets.
There are a number of things you can do to help minimise pain in order to make them more comfortable.
If your cat is overweight then losing weight can help to reduce pressure on the joints. Any weight loss should be slow because a rapid weight loss can lead to other problems such as hepatic lipiodosis which can be troublesome.
To ease some of the symptoms, please consult your vet. They can prescribe pair relief which helps to take away the inflammation in the joints to make your cat more comfortable. Acupuncture can also help as this can ease pain without causing any side effects.
Cartilage degeneration can be slowed down by using a number of products. Glucosamine, Chondroitin and green lipped mussel extract can help to relieve the symptoms. However, there have been no studies to prove that it is 100% effective, however there is some evidence to suggest they may work. Your cat will experience no side effects, which means that they are worth trying.
As the joints will be inflamed, essential fatty acids such as fish oil can help to provide a natural anti-inflammatory.
Think about the environment in which your cat lives. Making obstacles easier for them to interact with will help to improve things but also give them a better quality of life. Moving their bed to the floor or even putting a heated bed inside their bed during cold spells can help.
Many people put a decrease in activity in their cat down to old age when in reality it could be down to something that is causing them pain, remember that cats tend to avoid showing pain, so if you believe something may be affecting your cat, watch its body movement and general behaviour to identify is there could be an issue.
Arthritis is common in cats, so if you notice that your cat is becoming less mobile then a trip to the vets could help to improve their well-being. Getting access to the right treatment for your cat as quickly as possible could help them to get back to some form of normality.
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