Feline osteoarthritis is an increasingly common condition among cats. It’s a degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and pain in the affected joint, resulting in decreased mobility and quality of life. Symptoms of feline osteoarthritis can include limping, decreased activity, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, difficulty standing or sitting for extended periods of time, and increased sensitivity when touched or handled.
Diagnosing feline osteoarthritis can be difficult as cats are very stoic and the signs might not always be obvious. It’s important to bring your cat to the vet if you suspect they have osteoarthritis, so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. Treatment for this condition includes lifestyle changes such as giving your cat a softer bedding material, reducing their activity, adding ramps or steps to help your cat climb and jump, giving them a heated bed, and pain relief medications. It’s also important to ensure that your cat is getting adequate nutrition and hydration.
Feline osteoarthritis can be painful and debilitating for cats, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, it can be managed so that cats can enjoy a good quality of life. If you think your cat might have osteoarthritis, it’s important to speak to your vet about potential treatments and management strategies.
Symptoms of Feline Osteoarthritis
- Decreased activity
- Reluctance to jump or climb stairs
- Difficulty standing or sitting for extended periods of time
- Increased sensitivity when touched or handled
- Stiffness and/or lameness in affected joints
Diagnosing Feline Osteoarthritis
Diagnosing feline osteoarthritis can be a difficult task as cats are very stoic and the signs might not always be obvious. If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to bring them to the vet for an accurate diagnosis. The vet will conduct a physical examination and review your pet’s medical history in order to determine if there is evidence of osteoarthritis. X-rays could also be taken to evaluate the severity of joint damage.
Stage of Feline Osteoarthritis
Feline osteoarthritis is typically split into four stages, based on the severity of the condition.
This stage is characterized by slight stiffness and lameness, but not enough to affect daily activities.
During this stage, your cat will have increased stiffness and lameness that affects daily activities.
At this stage, cats will have difficulty walking and climbing stairs. Joints will appear swollen and there will be visible signs of pain.
This is the most severe form of feline osteoarthritis. Cats will have significant stiffness, lameness, swelling, and pain that can greatly limit mobility and quality of life.
Treating Feline Osteoarthritis
Treating feline osteoarthritis will depend on the severity of the condition. It’s important to speak to your vet about potential treatments and management strategies. Treatment can include lifestyle changes such as giving them a softer bedding material, reducing activity, adding ramps or steps to help your cat climb and jump, a heated bed, and pain relief medications. Nutritional supplements might also be recommended for cats with osteoarthritis. It’s also important to ensure that your cat is getting adequate nutrition and hydration.
Preventing Feline Osteoarthritis
It’s not always possible to prevent your cat from developing osteoarthritis, however there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are important for cats of all ages as these activities can help strengthen joints and muscles. Giving your cat plenty of soft bedding material that will support their joints can reduce stress on those areas. If your cat is already showing signs of arthritis, it’s important to speak to your vet about potential treatments and management strategies.