Arthritis is a condition involving the swelling or inflammation of one or more of a cat’s joints.
Signs & Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats
- Pain and stiffness of the cat’s joints
- Swelling around joints
- Loss of appetite or depression may show as your pet is in pain.
Causes of Arthritis in Cats
Most cat arthritis is related to age. However, an injury or disease can also be common causes. There are generally two types of arthritis seen in cats:
- Rheumatoid arthritis - This is an immune-mediated disease where the immune system attacks the healthy joint tissue. This type of arthritis is a progressive disease. In cats, this is very uncommon.
- Osteoarthritis - This is the kind of arthritis most humans, dogs, and cats suffer from. Cat osteoarthritis is a less common condition, however. Osteoarthritis is the result of damage to the cartilage around a joint, usually from some type of injury where new bone is formed around the joint, causing stiffness and pain. The normal aging process in a cat can be a major factor in this as well.
Diagnosis of Arthritis in Cats
Diagnosis begins with a complete history and a physical exam. Your veterinarian will most likely do the following:
- CBC/Chemistry Panel - These blood tests will evaluate various internal organ functions, including the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, metabolism, and electrolyte balance. The CBC (complete blood count) is a measure of the amount and different kinds of red and white blood cells that are present in the cat’s body.
- Radiographs - This will show the affected area(s) and help your veterinarian determine where and what type of arthritis your cat has
Treatment for Arthritis in Cats
Treatment options will depend on the degree of severity at time your cat is diagnosed. The treatments for arthritis in cats include the following:
- Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs if the arthritis is result of infection.
- Reduced calorie diet if obesity is a factor.
- Surgical repair of bony tissue to relieve arthritis symptoms.
- A long-term course of steroids and anti-inflammatory agents.
- Dietary supplements added to encourage new cartilage growth in the joint(s).