Cat hip dysplasia refers to an abnormality of either the hip socket, also known as acetabulum, or of the femoral head. The femoral head is sometimes referred to as the “ball”. Under normal conditions, the femoral head fits snuggly into the hip socket. A grouping of muscles holds the femoral head in place and allows for movement of the joint. In a cat with hip dysplasia, the hip and socket do not fit together correctly.
Hip Dysplasia can occur because of a defective hip socket or a defective femoral head. In some cases, the hip socket is too shallow, which causes the femoral head to rub against it and cause friction. Sometimes, the femoral head is malformed and cannot fit correctly into the hip socket. In both cases, the femoral head pops out of the socket and causes serious pain for your cat.
What Causes Cat Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia in cats is something that has only been discovered recently. Previously, it had been thought to be a condition that only affected dogs. However, the outbreak of cases in felines has made it known that cats can develop this condition, too.
While there are factors that can contribute to the development of hip dysplasia, like obesity and poor diet, the only proven cause is an inherited genetic abnormality. If your cat is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, that means that one or both of his parents either has the condition, or they are genetic carriers of the condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Cat Hip Dysplasia?
Depending upon where your cat is in the development of hip dysplasia, you may notice a variety of different symptoms. If your cat is further along in the process, the symptoms may be more pronounced.
- Decreased activity
- Not wanting to jump or climb
- Not wanting to be touched around the hip area
- Whimpering or whining
- Appearance of painful movement
How Is Cat Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed?
The only way that a firm diagnosis can be made is by having x-rays of the hips taken. Because there is a lot of movement of the hips when taking x-rays, your cat will likely be given general anesthesia during the process. That ensures that your cat does not feel any pain from the continual movement, and that the x-rays are accurate.
How Is Cat Hip Dysplasia Treated?
Cat hip dysplasia can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, a weight restricted diet and surgery. If the dysplasia is not extremely severe or debilitating, an anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed to reduce the swelling and make your cat more comfortable. Glucosamine Chondrotin is a natural supplement which is used to treat arthritis, and can be effective at strengthening the joints of the hip in cats.
If your cat is overweight and has hip dysplasia, he will need to be put on a weight controlled diet. There are various foods on the market that are focused on providing the nutrients that your cat needs, while limiting the calorie intake. Because carrying less weight around can only make it easier on your cat’s joints, diet can be a major aspect of treatment.
The last option for treatment would be surgical shaving of the hip socket and femoral head. During surgery, one or both is shaved down to make the femoral head fit correctly and allow for normal movement of the joint. However, surgery is only used in extremely severe cases.
Any method of treatment will help to relieve your cat of the pain associated with hip dysplasia. As long as your cat is treated for their condition, he will go on to live a normal and happy life.