Arthritis supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help relieve and even reverse the symptoms of arthritis in cats. Cats are small, light and naturally agile, so they may not show the symptoms of arthritis as readily as dogs. That doesn't mean, however, that cats can't suffer from arthritis. Here's what you should know about feline arthritis, and treating it with arthritis supplements.
Feline Arthritis Causes and Symptoms
Cats may suffer from arthritis as a result of joint deformities such as hip dysplasia, or as a result of injury to a joint. They can also suffer from arthritis due to age. As cats age, their bodies lose the ability to produce adequate amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two substances that your cat's body produces naturally; they form the basic material from which your cat's body regenerates new cartilage to keep joints functioning smoothly.
When your cat's body begins to lose its ability to produce glucosamine and chondroitin in adequate amounts, cartilage deterioration can occur, leaving your cat vulnerable to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage deteriorates to the point where the bones in your cat's joints are rubbing painfully against one another.
Symptoms of feline arthritis can include swelling, inflammation and pain in the affected joint or joints. Your cat may limp and may exhibit stiffness when he moves. He may have trouble standing, lying down, jumping or walking. He may appear generally less agile and active and may appear to have lowered energy levels.
Older cats are more prone to arthritis. If your older cat seems to be slowing down, it may be because he's suffering from arthritis pain.
How Glucosamine and Chondroitin Can Help
Glucosamine and chondroitin occur naturally in your cat's body, but as he ages, he may stop making it in the amounts needed to prevent joint damage. Adding arthritis supplements to your cat's diet can help replace naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin, to keep levels of these substances stable in his body. When arthritis supplements are administered, your cat's body can even repair damage done by arthritis, relieving his pain and improving his mobility.
Administering Arthritis Supplements to Your Cat
Glucosamine and chondroitin are long-term treatments that your cat will need to use daily for the rest of his life. The average recommended daily dosage for cats is 500 mg per day. Your cat may not begin to feel the benefits for several weeks, but, after 8 weeks of therapy, his supplement dosage can probably be reduced to an appropriate maintenance level.
Glucosamine and chondroitin arthritis supplements carry few side effects. Cats may experience mild diarrhea or vomiting, but you can mitigate these side effects by giving your cat food along with the supplement. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are considered safe for use with other medications. They come in both tablet and liquid form, so that you can choose the supplement that is easiest to administer to your cat.