Arthritis in Cats – Symptoms and Treatment
As with humans, cats can suffer from many joint-related diseases, such as feline rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that produces inflammation and muscle pain among other symptoms. This disease is not easy to detect because cats usually hide very well when they have pain, and it is difficult to detect that our pet suffers from this disease if we do not know which signs to watch for.
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Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms of arthritis in cats , as well as their treatment and the special care that we must offer the feline. If this topic is of interest to you, keep reading this article from YourCatCareguide and know everything you need to know about feline arthritis.
What is arthritis?
The feline arthritis , also called feline osteoarthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect a cat of any age and that is characterized by inflammation of the joints and wear of protective layers that cover the joints of the animal, something that causes pain, stiffness and loss of mobility, among other symptoms. This disease is degenerative, that is, it worsens over the years and should not be confused with osteoarthritis. In general, arthrosis affects cats that are already old, unlike arthritis, which causes progressive loss of cartilage, which in turn causes the bones to rub and wear away. Although arthritis and arthrosis in cats (and other living things) are very similar, they are not the same thing.
The causes that can cause rheumatoid arthritis in cats are diverse and may have different origins:
- Post-traumatic: due to injuries, strokes or injuries that the feline has suffered.
- Infectious: due to germs or bacteria that may have affected the joints.
- Genetics: due to malformations of limbs and other developmental problems.
- Immunological: due to the cat’s own immune system that reacts against the synovial membrane (the protective layer that covers it) of the joints.
- Obesity and overweight : not a direct cause but can aggravate the symptoms and promote inflammation of the joints if not controlled.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats
The symptoms that your cat may present in case of having rheumatoid arthritis are:
- Inflammation of joints.
- Loss of mobility and less exercise than usual.
- Muscle pain and atrophy.
- Joints to click.
- Difficulty and stiffness to move, jump, climb stairs, get up, etc …
- Change in the usual mood, you may notice it indifferent, apathetic, distant, etc …
Detect arthritis in cats is no easy task because these animals are quite skilled at hiding weaknesses because they usually do not complain or show pain when they have it. So if your cat shows any of these signs, it is important to take him or her to the veterinarian for a complete diagnosis, which will include a blood test, a history of the injury or trauma, and x-rays to see the state of the cat’s bones.
Treatment of Arthritis in Cats
Treatment of feline arthritis begins with the prescription by the veterinarian of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and minimize inflammation of the joints, as well as the administration of pharmacological supplements such as chondroitin or glucosamine to help to relieve the animal’s symptoms. Surgery is always the last option and is only done if the arthritis is very developed and the vet considers it really necessary.
But in addition to conventional medical treatments with analgesics for cats, some homeopathic medicines for cats and natural remedies like lecithin, sodium sulfate or calcium fluoride may also help improve feline arthritis , or even with acupuncture and massage therapy.
To prevent the onset of arthritis in cats it is advisable for the animal to have adequate nutritionand to exercise regularly and in a moderate way, so that his musculoskeletal system will remain in good condition and will be less likely to suffer from this disease. If the feline suffers from overweight or obesity, it is recommended to decrease weight to decrease the burden that your joints have to endure and decrease inflammation. You can consult this article if you want to know some exercises for obese cats or consult a balanced diet with your veterinarian.
Cat Care With Arthritis
In addition to regular exercise and proper nutrition, if your cat has arthritis should provide you with a number of special care to make your life easier and your disease lighter.
Firstly, it is necessary that your cat is as comfortable as possible at home, so you should put blankets or several soft towels on your bed and in all places where you know to lie down. This way your cat will rest much better and your joints will hurt much less than if your body touches directly on the flat surfaces, reducing possible damage. In addition, you can include some warm compresses or water bags in your padded bed to relieve inflammation of the affected areas. The cold and humidity aggravate the pains of arthritis in cats, so it is necessary to make your home a warm place, dry and without sudden changes of temperature. You should also avoid slippery floors so you do not risk your cat falling by accident.
It is also necessary for your cat to have as few obstacles as possible when living at home, because if he could climb up to some place that was his favorite and now he can not, it would be good to give him a ramp instead of stairs or other surfaces that will cause you more pain in your joints if you have to lift them, such as bookshelves or boxes. In addition, your litter box and feeder / water fountain should also be located in an area where the cat can easily reach, so if you have a house with several floors, ideally it would have a sandbox and a feeder / drinker on each floor so you do not have to always be up and down.
And finally, you should avoid at all costs that your cat stress and treat you with much love, love and patience, so you know you can count on yourself. A quiet, comfortable and unhindered environment are the keys to keeping your cat happy.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read more articles the less you have questions about Arthritis in Cats – Symptoms and Treatment , we recommend you to enter our section on Degenerative Diseases .