Monday, July 15, 2024

How Long Can A Cat Live With Arthritis

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The Veterinarian Said That My Cat Is Overweight And Prescribed New Food As Well As Some Medications And Nutraceuticals Why Are There So Many Things For Me To Give My Cat

Living with Senior Cats

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for treating OA. In fact, once OA is in place, we are not so much treating it as managing it because OA cannot be cured.

OA is a very complex disease, so managing it is a fairly complex process because we get the best results from combining multiple modalities. Typical multimodal management of arthritis generally includes the following:


Normalizing body condition is critical, so your veterinarian will prescribe a specific nutritional product to accomplish this goal. There is now a nutrient profile that can support the joints while helping to normalize body weight and condition. It is important to stick strictly to the prescribed nutritional program.

Pain medications

Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are generally used as the first line of defense against the pain of OA. Your veterinarian will determine if your cat is a good candidate for this class of medication.

Occasionally, a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drug will be prescribed instead of a NSAID. The two classes of medication CANNOT be used together.

“Never reach into your own medicine cabinet when your cat limps or has been diagnosed with OA.”

Gabapentin is a pain medication that addresses chronic pain differently from NSAIDs or corticosteroids, and complements those medications. It provides a way to address the chronic nature of OA pain, and is especially helpful when the patient is older and not able to take a NSAID.


Physical medicine

Consider Giving Your Cat Supplements And/or Medications

While anti-inflammatory medications havent been studied as much in cats as they have been in people or dogs, new medications are becoming available.

Depending on your cats needs, we may want to look into them.

You also can find a variety of joint supplement products on the market.

Similar to the foods we discussed above,;these products contain special ingredients to help with joint health, such as:

  • Glucosamine
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Many supplements are available in a treat form if your cat does well with treats.

Theyre also available in capsules and in liquid forms to put on top of food.

If youre looking for ways to be proactive with your aging cat, joint supplements may be an option to consider.

Our cat veterinarians are happy to discuss what makes sense for your cat at your next visit.

Keep your cat happy and pain-free!

Call us at 303-688-3757 to book a checkup;or laser therapy. You also can:

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on slowing or preventing arthritis in cats. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian.

Arthritis In Back Legs

Arthritis can affect any part of a cats body, but its common in the legs. When cat arthritis occurs in the back legs it can greatly limit your cat’s mobility. In some cases, cat arthritis can cause lameness where the cat will begin limping or favoring one leg when they walk. Many times, this causes the cat to become much less active and spend more time resting.

A licensed veterinarian can help determine if your cat has arthritis in their back legs and help put together a treatment plan.;


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Is There A Difference Between Kidney Disease And Kidney Failure

Though the two are tied together, there is a major difference between kidney disease and kidney failure.

Kidney disease is the chronic decline of kidney function over time, while kidney failure is the actual failing of the kidneys to the point where they cannot function properly any longer.

The kidneys are an impressive set of organs, as they can continue to function until 65-70% of the kidneys have been impaired by chronic disease.

Kidney failure would be the period in time of where the cats kidneys have already experienced severe damage, and can no longer function properly.

Provide Easy Access To Comfortable Lounging Spots

Identify If Your Cat Is Living With Arthritis

Make sure your cat has well-cushioned and comfortable places to sleep at night and to lay around on during the day. Dont forget about your windowsills, where many cats like to spend their time.

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For cats that like to be up on furniture or windowsills, try to get them to use a ramp or create a situation to where they do not have high or long jumps to make.

Pet Gear Stair and Ramp CombinationBuy on Chewy |

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Causes And Signs Of Arthritis In Cats

Arthritis in cats includes inflammation of the joints and sometimes a breakdown of cartilage that usually helps prevent bone-on-bone wear and tear. Cats can develop arthritis for a variety of reasons, including aging, obesity, trauma, and occasionally genetic or heritable conditions.;

Cats can hide their pain or show very subtle, vague signs of pain. Here are some possible signs of arthritis pain in cats:

  • Being less active

  • A change in the desire or ability to jump up or down

  • Mobility or gait changes

  • Changes in sleeping patterns

  • Changes in body tension or posture

Subtle Signs Of Osteoarthritis In Cats

First of all, whenever I see an overweight senior cat over the age of 11 and north of 13 pounds I start looking for OA.

I recently treated a 12-year-old female on second opinion for inappropriate elimination. Out of the blue, the feline had begun urinating on rugs, chairs and deal-breaker the owners bed. A previous urinalysis didnt find any infection, and the behavioral drugs failed to curtail the troublesome tinkling. Blood tests and a urinalysis performed at my clinic didnt reveal anything unusual. In fact, I wasnt identifying anything extraordinary, other than an older, obese cat .

As I mentioned, Im always on the lookout for pain. So I recommended radiographs to evaluate the abdomen and joints. As you may have surmised, I discovered some pretty arthritic hips and knees. Shes now doing just fine with anti-inflammatory medication, a weight-loss diet and nutritional supplements.

The signs of osteoarthritis in cats are subtle. Heres my short list:

  • Reluctance to jump on furniture or counters

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Diagnosing Arthritis In Cats

Diagnosis is relatively straightforward. You usually notice stiffness, a limp, slowness or an inability to jump.

Since this is generally a geriatric problem in cats, a geriatric workup including blood work is usually recommended to make sure the cat does not have some underlying metabolic disease, causing slowness or a change in gait.

X-rays are also beneficial, to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other problems that cause stiffness, pain or lameness.

How Is Cat Arthritis Treated

Arthritis in dogs & cats

There are a few different treatment options available for cats with arthritis:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . The most common treatment for cat arthritis, NSAIDs are prescribed by a licensed veterinarian who can help determine the duration and type of treatment.
  • Pain management medication. In some cases, cats will be given painkilling drugs in cases where non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not appropriate or not sufficient.
  • Injectable joint protectants. This treatment helps relieve arthritic pain. It involves a veterinarian giving injections of glycosaminoglycans every four weeks or so to the cat.
  • Acupuncture. Although the studies regarding acupuncture for cat arthritis are limited, some cats may benefit from it. Acupuncture is an old healing practice in Chinese medicine where needles are placed at specific points in the body to relieve pain.
  • Cold laser therapy or photobiomodulation . This noninvasive and painless treatment allows a vet to move a small device that emits therapeutic light waves across your pets body, on top of their fur. This type of treatment has been shown to ease pain and decrease inflammation.

If you suspect your cat has arthritis, a licensed veterinarian can help determine the best treatment option for your cat.;

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Joint Supplements And Nutraceuticals

Glucosamine and chondroitin – the two most common;joint supplements.; They have a positive influence on cartilage health by improving cartilage repair and maintenance in the joints.

Essential fatty acids – The omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects.;

Diet Therapeutic diets for arthritis in cats have become available that contain omega-3 fatty acids as well as glucosamine and chondroitin.; The Royal Canin diet also contains green lipped mussel extract.

Treatment Of Arthritis In Cats

Treatment of arthritis in cats involves a variety of therapies, including medication, dietary changes, weight management, and more.

Arthritic cats can now be treated using a range of different treatment options. A multi-modal approach is often recommended, using several different therapies which can work well together.

  • The most effective treatment is to give daily pain-relieving medication in the food. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as meloxicam are often used. These drugs can have adverse effects if a cat is suffering from liver or kidney disease, so its often advised to carry out blood tests to rule these out before starting onto long term treatment. In a healthy older cat, this type of treatment can be given for many years without significant side-effects, and it can bring about an immediate improvement in the quality of life.
  • Other pain medications like gabapentin may also be recommended.
  • An injectable, joint-modifying medication called glycosaminoglycans may be suggested.
  • Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine chondroitin sulphate and omega-3 fatty acids. These can be provided as dietary supplements, or they may be included in specific diets formulated as joint support diets.
  • Massage, physiotherapy, laser therapy and acupuncture can be very useful in some patients. Other aspects of a cats lifestyle may need to be reviewed, including weight reduction in obese cats.

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Was Your Pet Food Recalled

Drugs called NSAIDs should also be on your watchlist. Cats break down NSAIDs very differently from humans or dogs. This is why aspirin should never be given to cats without supervision.

However, an NSAID called meloxicam is now well-established as licensed pain relief in cats. And because its a liquid that you place on food, its easy to give.

Of course there are some risks attached, which well look at shortly. But for those uneasy about giving cats medication, weigh the benefits against a small risk when used correctly.


  • Meloxicam is currently the only licensed pain relief medication for long-term use in cats.
  • It comes in a specific cat formula that is easy to give.
  • It should always be given with or after food, just as you shouldnt take aspirin on an empty stomach because this risks gastric ulceration.
  • Never combine meloxicam with certain other meds, so check with your vet if youre unclear.
  • Stop medication if the cat has sickness or diarrhea.
  • Cats with kidney disease are at increased risk of side effects. So its wise to have periodic blood tests to check that the kidneys are healthy before continuing with long-term use.

These steps above are all sensible ones that will help keep your cat well. They arent meant to scare you, but in the same way the insert on human aspirin makes a scary read, you need to know what to avoid in order to dodge the problem.

Meloxicam Dosage and Side Effects

Side effects may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney damage

Treatments For Arthritis In Cats

Scottish Fold Cat Lifespan

Up until recently, there have not been any licensed drugs for the long-term control of arthritis in cats. Many products that are safe for use in humans and widely available over the counter, such as aspirin, paracetemol and ibuprofen can be extremely dangerous if used in cats. In fact, the use of such drugs by misinformed owners is one of the most common causes of poisoning in cats.

Some anti-arthritic drugs with a veterinary licence for dogs have been used in cats, but with extreme caution, not only because of the cat’s known sensitivity to that group of drugs, but also because the canine preparations are not in a dosage size that are designed to be given to cats.

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Other Options For Relieving Arthritis In Cats

Arthritis is a condition where lots of small things can add up to a big improvement. So dont feel helpless, because making minor adjustments can help.

For example, my favorite tips are:

  • Heat Therapy: Get your cat a heat pad, or better still a heated cat bed. Theyll love you fur-ever as they snuggle up in that lovely warmth that penetrates their joints to ease those aches.
  • Warm Bags: Invest in some microwaveable wheat/corn bags. Then place the warm bag over the sore joint for extra relief.
  • Jumping Assistance: Provide a stool or chair as a staging post to help your cat jump up to a favorite spot.
  • Massage: When done correctly, massage helps remove inflammatory toxins away from inflamed joints and increases the supply of healing oxygen. However, do massage wrong and you can do harm. Therefore, find a veterinary physiotherapist and have them teach you what to do.
  • Nail Trim: Watch out for overgrown nails that can dig into the pad. When an arthritic cat is less active, those nails can grow surprisingly fast.

Can Metacam For Cats Help Treat Arthritis

That has changed with the introduction of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called meloxicam in a formulation licensed to treat cats with arthritis or other causes of chronic pain. Marketed under the trade name of Metacam for Cats, it comes as a liquid that can easily be administered orally once a day, using a specially marked syringe. It is one of the products that was formerly available only in a canine formulation, but had been used quite widely off-licence in cats. The feline product is significantly less concentrated than the canine one, so can be dosed more accurately. This is important, as if it is over-dosed, there is a significantly greater chance of developing side effects, particularly vomiting or diarrhoea.

It is gratifying that we now have another effective feline product in our armoury to help control what we now know to be a very significant cause of chronic pain in cats.

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How Can I Help Manage My Cat’s Arthritis

  • Keep their beds easily accessible and extra soft.
  • Providing steps or ramps to allow them easier access to higher places they enjoy, such as the couch or window sills.
  • Ensure their litter trays have low sides and are easy for them to access.
  • Discuss with us a suitable diet for your senior cat if necessary.
  • Easily accessible water and food trays.
  • Following advice and medication treatments provided by the clinic.
  • Watch their weight – while excess weight hasn’t been proven to cause arthritis, it certainly makes managing the condition harder and more painful for the cat.
  • Keep them warm in the winter; as the cold aggravates arthritis.

How Can I Help My Old Cat With Arthritis

What to Feed a Dog With Arthritis (Supplementation and Diet)

How to Help Your Senior Cat Cope with Arthritis Pin Me! Take extra precautions when interacting with your senior cat. Games or activities that she used to enjoy, may now cause pain. Use heat to naturally soothe your kitties sore joints. Use a joint health supplement to slow down joint deterioration. Offer natural pain relief.

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What Is Feline Osteoarthritis

Feline osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is caused by the wearing away of joint cartilage . Without this cushion, adjacent bones are able to rub against each other, resulting in debilitating pain.;

The disease most commonly affects the hip, knee, ankle, and elbow joints in cats. And while the root cause of osteoarthritis in cats isnt always known, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons says that injuries, abnormally shaped joints, and normal, everyday wear-and-tear can be to blame. Sadly, the condition is incredibly common. In a 2011 study, 61% of cats ages six years and older had X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in at least one joint, and 48% were affected in more than one joint. The study also found that disease prevalence increases with age. In other words, the older your cat gets, the more likely it is that she will have at least one arthritic joint. However, even young cats can be affected.

What Does Arthritis Mean In Dogs

What is arthritis? Simply arthritis is a process that over time causes the breakdown of a joint. It is a progressive disease. It causes loss of joint structure and over time there is just bone on bone, and this leads to inflammation and pain in the joint and surrounding areas. Some dogs are born with the problem , others develop arthritis in specific joints after injury, others develop it as they age due to poor nutrition or obesity, carrying too much weight on the joints. Regardless of the cause, it is extremely common. Studies show that while not all dogs may show signs of arthritis a large percentage, over 60% will have changes on their X-rays at some point in their lives. It is quite common. It can affect any breed of dog and start at any age. Additional information

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Tips & Products To Help Your Aging Or Arthritic Cat

While cats definitely get the short end of the stick, compared to dogs, when it comes to products and even medications that can help alleviate their pain and improve their quality of life when dealing with arthritis, there are still plenty of safe and effective things you and your veterinarian can do to help your arthritic cat. The tips and products listed below have helped to improve the comfort level, quality of life, and ability to get around for many older and arthritic cats. Have a look and try some of them out, you may well be surprised at the change youll see in your cat!

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