In recent studies, diagnostic imaging has shown that between 60-90% of cats will have some form of arthritis affecting either, the joints, limbs or spine. It is more prevalent in our older patients but can affect cats of any age.
Signs your cat may be suffering from arthritis:
- Not jumping up on couch/bed
- Reluctance to use stairs
- Difficulty getting up from a sleeping/sitting position
- Urinating/defecating out side of the litter tray
- Reduction in or lack of grooming
Ongoing pain relief – there are a few options here, blood tests, an assessment of your pet and a conversation with your vet will determine the medication that is best for your cat.
Arthritis injections – containing pentosan polysulfate and glucosamine (Synovan) these are normally given once a week for a 4-week course and then given at monthly (or longer) intervals depending on your pets pain levels. These injections help to reduce inflammation in the joints while increasing lubrication of the joints and to aid in cartilage repair and prevent cartilage breakdown.
Supplements – There are many supplements on the market that claim to aid in the treatment of arthritis and relieve arthritis-associated pain. Studies show the most effective supplements are ones that contain Omega 3 fatty acids (specifically DHA and EPA) and green-lipped mussel.
Environmental changes – An arthritic cat will appreciate warm, soft, thick comfortable bedding. In the winter a heat mat or hot water bottle in their bed will also be welcomed.
Small steps and ramps are also helpful for an arthritic cat to get up on the couch/bed etc.
A change in litter tray or the provision of one inside (if your elderly cat does not already have an inside litter tray) can also make a huge difference in the overall comfort level of an arthritic cat.