Friday, May 20, 2011

Symptoms and Treatment Approaches to Feline Arthritis

As I discussed in my last post, arthritis is a progressive condition in which a cat’s cartilage breaks down and his or her joints become inflamed and painful.

If your kitty has arthritis, he or she may exhibit some of these symptoms:

  • Decreased flexibility.
  • Crying or other displays of discomfort when you hold or pet your cat in a certin way.
  • Lethargy or inactivity.
  • Stiffness.
  • Swollen joints.
  • Inconsistently using or no longer using the litterbox due to pain when climbing in and out of it.
  • Hesitating to do certain activities, such as: jumping, climbing stairs, and running.
Because the symptoms of feline arthritis may be due to another condition, it is important for you to take your cat to the veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis before beginning any treatment.

Your cat's veterinarian will perform a physical exam, take blood, and take x-rays to determine if your kitty is suffering from arthritis. If your vet determines your pet's symptoms are due to arthritis, he or she will recommend the best treatment for your furry friend's specific circumstances.

Treatments for feline arthritis include:

  • Nutritional supplements - Glucosamine and Chondroitin are known to help painful, inflamed joints. You can often find these two supplements in products for cat arthritis together, like in Cosequin.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication - There are not many anti-inflammatory drugs for cats and they can have side-effects. Thus, vets will typically recommend a nutritional approach to treating arthritis and use anti-inflammatory medication as a last resort.
  • Weight-loss for obese or overweight cats - Weight-loss has been shown to be beneficial for cats who are overweight or obese. Weight-loss can be attained through proper diet and exercise, which should be guided by your veterinarian.
In addition to these approaches to treating arthritis in cats, you can also make changes in your home to make your kitty more comfortable. I will discuss environmental changes you can make for an arthritic cat in my next post.

1 comment:

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