Osteoarthritis in cats: causes, symptoms and therapy

Osteoarthritis in cats is as debilitating as it is invisible: here’s how to identify it promptly and how to intervene.

Osteoarthritis is a disease that commonly affects the cat elderly, decreasing its quality of life. Let’s see together what to know about this disease and what good practices to adopt to help our four-legged friend recover serenity and well-being.

Osteoarthritis in cats: what it is and what are the causes

Feline osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease affecting the joints.

The causes of the disease are of two types:

  • Primary osteoarthritis, which occurs in 71% of cases and affects elderly cats;
  • Secondary osteoarthritis, the appearance of which is due to the presence of underlying joint diseases, such as hip dysplasia or patella luxation in cats.

Although the latter are rare diseases in domestic cats, there are some breeds that are more at risk . These include:

  • Maine Coon
  • Devon Rex
  • Perisano
  • Himalayan

How to spot osteoarthritis in cats

Understanding that our four-legged friend suffers from this disorder is not at all easy.

Because of this, osteoarthritis is also known as an invisible cat disease.

If you share your home with an elderly or prone to joint disease, watch their behavior carefully, looking for any signs of discomfort. Among the main symptoms are:

  • Reduction of physical activity
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty jumping and climbing stairs
  • Joint pain when cuddling
  • Behaviour changes, such as increased aggression and a tendency to be isolated
  • Decreased appetite
  • The cat does not use the litter box

Additional signs that could indicate the presence of osteoarthritis in cats relate to grooming. Does the feline spend less time on personal hygiene?

He may experience pain when practicing licking. Among the indirect symptoms of the pathology there is also the excessive growth of the nails.

In fact, it could signal the reduced physical activity of the cat. Finally, contrary to what one might think, there are few animals affected by this disease that clearly show an evident lameness.

Suffice it to say, in fact, that it is present only from 4% to 17.5% of cases. For this reason, it is essential to focus on other signals, much more eloquent in showing that there is something wrong with our four-legged friend.

Diagnosis and treatment

How is osteoarthritis in cats diagnosed?

After a thorough examination, the cat will undergo a series of tests using diagnostic tools such as x-rays, CT, MRI and arthroscopy.

Unfortunately, since it is a degenerative disease there is no definitive cure.

In any case, it is possible to carry out treatments that help the furry dog ​​to fight pain and discomfort, reducing symptoms.

In addition to the use of traditional medicine, with the use of painkillers to soothe the discomfort, homeopathy can be a valuable aid .

Additional tools are the use of dietary supplements or cannabis derivatives, acupuncture and lasers.

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