Cat can also suffer from joint disease, but understanding this will be difficult because the cat hides the pain. Here’s how to recognize arthritis in cats.
Among the diseases related to the joints, the most common in cats is arthritis. Recognizing the symptoms of the disease is not at all easy for the owners: the cat is in fact very good at hiding diseases and pain since in nature pain is a sign of weakness. For this reason, the disease is often diagnosed when it is already in an advanced stage. Being able to recognize it earlier is crucial in helping cat to better live this condition.
What you need to know about arthritis in cats
Before delving into the topic of feline arthritis, a clarification is necessary: arthritis and arthrosis are two different pathologies even if they are often confused because they have characteristics and symptoms in common.
- Feline arthritis (also called feline osteoarthritis) is a chronic inflammatory degenerative disease that can affect cats at any age and is characterized by inflammation of the tendons and wear of the protective layers that line the feline’s joints. Being degenerative it gets worse over time;
- Osteoarthritis mainly affects older cats and, unlike arthritis, causes the progressive loss of cartilage so that the bones wear away as they rub against each other.
Causes of arthritis in cats
Arthritis can have different origins, let’s see which ones:
- genetic due to malformations or other developmental problems;
- infectious due to germs or bacteria affecting the joints;
- immunological due to the immune system of the Cat that reacts against the synovial membrane (protective layer of the joints);
- post-traumatic due to trauma, blows or injuries;
- indirect cause of cat’s obesity and overweight.
Symptoms of arthritis:
As previously mentioned, the cat is very good at hiding the pain so if you notice one or more symptoms of those listed you will need to make an appointment with the veterinarian. Symptoms of arthritis in cats are:
- creaking and inflammation of the joints;
- pain (here’s how to tell if the cat is in pain) and muscle wasting;
- joint stiffness and therefore difficulty in getting up, jumping, moving, climbing stairs;
- change of behavior (less mobility and exercises, listless and passive cat).
Arthritis prevention and precautions to be taken
To prevent the onset of arthritis in cats it is necessary to maintain the musculoskeletal system in excellent condition. Such as? Kitten should eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
If the cat is obese he will have to lose weight to reduce the load his joints have to bear, only then will the inflammation decrease. However, remember that the cat must lose weight gradually to avoid metabolic problems (hepatic lipidosis).
If your cat has been diagnosed with arthritis, in addition to weight management, you will need to ensure environmental comfort and of course veterinary treatments. For home comfort you must:
- put soft blankets in places where he spends most time (sofa, bed, window) and also hot water bottles where he rests to relieve inflammation;
- make the house a warm, dry place without excessive temperature changes. The cold and humidity, in fact, make the pain worse;
- eliminate obstacles;
- place litter boxes and bowls of food and water in easily accessible places;
- if the house is very large or spread over several floors you will have to put litter and bowls on each floor to prevent it from going down and up continuously;
- also avoid using products that make the floors slippery, the cat could fall;
- eliminate sources of stress and treat cat with love, affection and patience.
When you take your cat to the vet he will give him a complete visit with blood tests, x- rays and anything else he deems useful to diagnose the disease.
Your vet will prescribe some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and minimize inflammation in the joints and supplements such as chondroitin or glucosamine. The pathology can also be treated through surgery; this is the last option that is considered by the vet when arthritis is highly developed.
In addition, some veterinarians recommend homeopathic medicines for cats or natural remedies such as calcium fluoride, lecithin, sodium sulfate or acupuncture and therapeutic massages.