Cat Arthritis Symptoms

Cat arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that most commonly occurs in senior cats. The clinical signs and symptoms of arthritis vary in individual pets. Pet owners often confuse the symptoms of arthritis with lethargy due to old age. However, lethargy and decreased activity can be caused by pain or discomfort experienced due to feline arthritis.

Feline Arthritis

Feline arthritis is an inflammation of the joints in pets. Joints contain synovial fluid that works as a cushion to the lining of cartilage and the joint itself. Synovial fluid helps cats perform their routine activities like walking or climbing stairs by preventing joint friction. Feline arthritis can manifest itself in different forms such as traumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis and has also been linked to cats suffering from obesity.

Symptoms of Cat Arthritis

  • Visible stiffness in the joint which causes difficulty walking, climbing or running. Although the stiffness is minimal at the onset of arthritis, disease progression causes more severe joint pain and stiffness.
  • Pets also experience lameness and difficulty standing after longer periods of rest.
  • Cats don't indulge in playful behavior and prefer to rest indoors.
  • Pets exhibit certain personality changes and may become more aggressive or depressed.
  • Cats also find it difficult to defecate due to the pressure on the joints while squatting.
  • Most cats suffering from painful joint inflammation choose to stay in solitude and resist human touch or play with children.
  • Joints may seem protruded or swollen due to internal inflammation.
  • Pets with arthritis prefer to urinate out of the litter box due to difficulty getting in and out of litter boxes.
  • Cats may cry in pain when touched due to the increased sensitivity around joints.
  • Pets also fail to groom themselves routinely due to the pain associated with movement.

Diagnosis of Feline Arthritis

Since cat lameness may be attributed to several different conditions, the vet will conduct blood tests and radiographs to establish a proper diagnosis. Radiographs are very helpful to detect inflamed joints. The most common areas where arthritis sets in are the hips, stifles and spine. Blood tests are conducted to rule out the presence of underlying disease before choosing a treatment plan.

Treatment of Cat Arthritis

Feline arthritis is not a curable disease. However there are many drugs available that reduce joint inflammation and pain. The vet will also prescribe certain supplements such as glucosamine or chondroitin that decrease inflammation. In addition certain non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are certified for use in cats. These NSAIDS drugs such as metacam are used to stop arthritic pain and discomfort. Pets suffering from arthritis also benefit from diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Alternative Treatment

Many pet owners prefer to use therapies such as acupuncture and homoeopathy to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Veterinary acupuncture uses the technique of inserting needles at specific pressure point in the body to stimulate blood flow and induce relief from various ailments. Homoeopathic medicines contain natural ingredients such as ginger and tree essences to reduce inflammation. Since the medication is natural, it can be used for a prolonged period without concern about adverse side-effects. Cats in general are sensitive to various medicines and homoeopathic treatment provides a safe and effective cure for many diseases including feline arthritis.

Pet owners that notice unusual behavior or joint problems in cats should seek prompt medical help. Several supplements also prevent disease progression and it's best to start medication at the earliest.