Treating Arthritis in Cats: Multiple Treatment Modalities to Help

Arthritis in cats is a very common condition!

Cat arthritis happens in over 40% of cats! 

90% of cats over the age of 12 years have radiographic signs of osteoarthritis!

If your cat is 7 years of age or older, it PROBABLY has arthritis!  But what can you do about it?

MULTI-MODAL ARTHRITIS TREATMENT FOR CATS INCLUDES:

Environmental Modification

Make it easier to get around.  Provide ramps or steps to favorite high perches.  Use low-sided litter boxes to ease and encourage use. Put the food and water on the floor.

Dietary modulation/ Nutraceuticals

Omega 3 fatty acids– Rx- strength EPA fraction is anti-inflammatory for everything in the body!  Rx foods are available with the omega 3s supplemented.

Disease Modifying Medications

Adequan(R) -(not FDA approved for use in cats but safe and effective)- Adequan provides strong anti-oxidants to the joints, improves the viscosity or “slipperiness” of joint fluid, and can even heal cartilage!

Weight loss if required

Trying to haul 30% or more extra body weight around, esp to the top of the table or counter or favorite perch is hard on the joints!  Absorbing the impact of that extra weight when you jump down is painful!  Maintaining a healthy weight goes a long way toward easing pain and enhancing mobility when you have arthritis!

Physical therapy

Massage and range of motion exercises aren’t for every cat, but can be helpful to those that tolerate them!

OK.. maybe more like this:

Exercise

Train your kitty to walk on a harness or play to get moving. Joints stay more flexible and less painful with just a little movement throughout the day.

Pain Management 

NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal AntiInflammatorieS) MUST be managed under the direction of a vet and NEVER give human medicines!  Human NSAIDs are toxic to cats!  There are a couple of veterinary NSAIDS that are labeled for long-term use in cats in other countries, just not the US.  This makes US veterinarians a little leary about prescribing them.  Used cautiously, however, NSAIDs can be a terrific help to cats who have not responded to the above recommendations.

Gabapentin is a medication used in the human world for “neuropathic pain”.  It is the most commonly used pain medication for cats because of it’s safety and efficacy.  While you might think “well, arthritis is not “nerve pain”, you might be surprised to learn that recent studies HAVE found a neuropathic component to arthritis pain!  It doesn’t help all the pain, but can help a lot of it!

Opiods can be used in cats to relieve pain of all kinds.  They have to be carefully dosed and prescribed by a vet.

On the Horizon: Anti- Nerve Growth Factor monoclonal antibody medication

It’s not available yet, but it’s in development and very exciting!

Click Here to learn more