Joint Disease in Cats
Not until recently has it been known about arthritis in cats; this was not commonly diagnosed or treated, the main reason being cats are good at hiding signs of pain, which comes from their survival in the wild.
Cats that are 12 years or older will normally have some evidence of degenerative joint disease with some studies that have been carried out showing between 60% to 90% of cats were affected, with the shoulders, hips, elbows, knees stifles and ankles being the most commonly affected joint areas.
So what causes Arthritis in Cats? The normal cartilage that cushions the joint degenerates and is worn away, resulting in inflammation, discomfort, ongoing damage and secondary changes in or around the joint. Where the disease is likely to arise is due to mechanical wear and tear in the joints or an injury.
According to the Cat’s Association the major signs of arthritis are as follows:
Jumping up to lower surfaces than previously
Resistance in jumping up or down
Stiffness in the leg’s
Difficulty in using the litter tray
Difficulty in movement
Sleeping in different, easier to access spots
Reduce frequency of time spent grooming – matted or scruffy coat
Overgrown claws due to lack of activity
Irritable or grumpy
Hiding away and avoiding contact
Joint pain could be causing these changes.
How to deal with their Environment?
Changing their environment in many ways can help greatly improve with the quality of life for an arthritic cat, soft comfortable accessible bedding draught free locations igloo beds could be considered for warmth and security, Easier access for cats with litter trays, getting in and out, keep them well groomed.
Controlling their diet, obesity will only put pressure on the limbs supplements and special foods can help some medical treatment can help with controlling the pain and inflammation although need to consider any side effects. The most common ones are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Omega -3 from fish oils, reduces the activity of cartilage degrading enzymes