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​What Is Cat Arthritis?

cat with veterinarian in Duarte being examined for early signs of cat arthritis

What Is Cat Arthritis and How Can It Be Treated by our Duarte Veterinarian?

Feline arthritis may arise from joint degeneration, autoimmune disorders, bone/ligament infections or improperly treated injuries. Since many people think dogs can only suffer arthritis, signs of feline arthritis may go unnoticed or misdiagnosed by cat owners. The most commonly diagnosed form of cat arthritis is osteoarthritis. When bone connections lose their smoothness and fluidity, bones scrape against each other, becoming rough and pitted. Deterioration of bone and cartilage thinning ensues, which eventually causes cat joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Accumulation of fluids in an affected joint, combined with bone connection roughness, often promotes the formation of bone spurs or other bony growths that worsen stiffness, inflammation, and pain.

Signs of Cat Arthritis

Recognizing a cat has arthritis is difficult because pet owners tend to attribute a lack of physical activity or slowing down in cats as part of aging. In addition to noticing joint swelling or grating sounds in your cat's joint, you should look for muscle atrophy (muscle wasting), abnormal gait and difficulty walking or jumping in your cat. The best way to know whether your cat is suffering arthritis is to take your pet to your veterinarian for regular wellness exams. If your vet suspects cat arthritis, x-rays may be ordered to determine the severity of joint abnormalities or existence of bony growths around the joint. Purebred and mixed breed cats can suffer arthritis at any time in their lives.

Treating Feline Arthritis and Cat Joint Pain

Arthritis is a chronic condition that cannot be cured but can be managed so it doesn't progress too rapidly. Veterinarians often recommend or provide the following to help manage arthritis in cats:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications meant specifically for cats
  • Short-term use of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Giving cats DMOADs (disease-modifying osteoarthritic drugs) to manage osteoarthritis
  • Supplementing a cat's diet with chondroitin and/or glucosamine supplements may ease cat joint pain and stiffness
  • Using warm compresses to soothe aching joints

The only time surgery is indicated for cats with osteoarthritis is if other medical problems co-exist with arthritis, such as hip dysplasia, torn ligaments or trauma to the joint.

Is Cat Arthritis Preventable?

There are preventable measures that can keep your cat from suffering from arthritis. Keeping cats at an appropriate weight, making sure they get at least an hour of playtime every day and feeding them protein-rich meats such as chicken and turkey may help reduce the risk of cat arthritis. Obesity in cats is a primary reason for the development of osteoarthritis, which is entirely preventable.

Does Your Cat Need To See our Duarte Vet?

If you cat is presenting symptoms of cat arthritis, please call Duarte Azusa Animal Hospital today at 626-346-2992 to schedule an appointment.



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