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Posted on 10-04-2013

Just like people and dogs, cats can develop osteoarthritis (sometimes called degenerative joint disease) as they get older. The earlier you can catch the signs of this painful disease, the more likely your beloved furry friend can get back to feeling like their spunky self.

Below is a list of some symptoms cats will show when they have arthritis:

  • Reluctance to jump or inability to jump as high as before
  • Hiding
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box
  • Decreased grooming
  • Avoiding interaction with owners
  • Disliking being petted or brushed

Many cats can have several joints affected. The most common being the elbows and hips. Typically the disease is bilateral, as well. One of the biggest problems with cats is that due to their small size and innate agility, lameness is difficult to detect. Also, cats are famous for not showing any pain during orthopedic exams.

For some cats suspected of having arthritis, whether it be due to clinical signs or radiographic (x-rays) evidence, a trial treatment of a non steroidal anti inflammatory will yield great results. The most notable being the cat’s willingness to jump to certain heights, not achieved lately, as well as improvement in a stiff gait.

Other modes of treatment can be lifestyle changes such as getting an overweight cat to lose weight. A prescription diet can be recommended by one of our veterinarians. Also, increasing exercise with a variety of enrichment activities and toys can be very beneficial and rewarding.

Some cats will even tolerate acupuncture and rehabilitation therapy.

So, if your cat starts avoiding jumping onto the window sill to sleep in his favorite spot or has an unkempt appearance, then schedule an appointment at our Chester Springs animal hospital to see if arthritis may be the cause.

Did you know that it is senior pet awareness month here at Eagle Animal Hospital from now through the end of December? We are offering special packages that include complete blood panels, full body x-rays, blood pressure screens, EKG’s and much more. Not to mention the great swag you will get for your well deserving senior pet. Please call our team at 610-458-8789 for more information. We look forward to helping your pet live the longest, healthiest life possible.

Written by Jennifer Granite, VMD

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