90% of cats over 12 years of age have some form of arthritis.
Arthritis is the development of chronic and irreversible inflammation of the joints of a cat.
Arthritis is the irreversible and progressive deterioration of joints that causes pain and a reduction in joint motion. It affects cats of all ages but predominantly pets >10 years of age. The most commonly affected joint in cats is the elbow joint. Many cats also develop arthritis in the lower back.
Common signs of arthritis in a cat:
Hesitation to jump from heights
'Pouring' down from a height
Landing with a thump and a groan
Difficulty climbing into the litter box
Move around less and sleep more
Rough or matted fur from poor grooming of the hind quarters
Long and/or thick nails
Increased irritability or crying when picked up
Arthritis management is based on:
Weight loss if overweight
Diet control with foods rich in Omega fatty acids such as veterinary arthritis prescription diets
Pain relief drugs
Injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycans like Zydax
Tips to help manage pets with arthritis:
A warm home
Place the bed away from cold draughts and close to a heat source or the sun
Soft but firm bedding
Ramps or small steps onto the couch or bed so that the pet does not have to jump
Avoid slippery surfaces such as tiles
Regular nail trim
Weight loss to take excessive pressure off the joints - this should be gradual and managed by your veterinarian as sudden weight loss can be dangerous
Avoid rough play
Provide a litter tray with a lowered wall for easy access
Your vet will help you design an arthritis management program to improve your cat's quality of life.
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