Cats and Arthritis

Cat with Arthritis

Some of the following are highlights from Dr. Phil Zeltzman’s newsletter. Dr. Zeltzman is a highly respected, board-certified veterinary surgeon practicing in Pennsylvania. We urge you to join in subscribing to his free newsletter, where you will find invaluable information about pets.

Dr. Zeltzman calls athritis in cats “the Silent Epidemic.” This is due to the fact that cats don’t often show signs of distress the way dogs do with lameness.

Here as some symptoms of arthritis in cats that Dr. Zeltzman points out.

  • There can be reluctance or inability to jump up or down, personality changes, sleeping more, stiffness, decreased self-grooming, eliminating outside the litter box.
  • Arthritis occurs when the cartilage serving as a cushion wears away and bones rub together causing pain and inflammation.
  • Arthritis is usually seen in senior cats, but can occur at any age due to trauma, injuries, infection, a compromised immune system.Your veterinarian is the person to turn to for a diagnosis.
  • While there is no cure for arthritis, as Dr. Zeltzman suggests, there are ways to relieve discomfort.
  • Ask your veterinarian what the ideal weight is for your cat. If your cat requires a diet change, do so slowly and maintain proper weight.
  • Moderate exercise is advised. Walking your cat on a leash helps you control the amount of exercise.
  • There have been good results using acupuncture to control discomfort. Make sure you use a professional who has a certificate to practice acupuncture on cats.
  • Physical therapy can help, but check with or use a professional so as not to cause more damage.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be harmful to cats. Never give your cat any drugs without consulting your veterinarian and follow directions exactly.
  • Pain killers should be given only as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Keep food and water dishes easily accessible to your cat.
  • Provide soft, warm areas for your cat’s naps and sleep.
  • Check with your veterinarian if your cat will benefit from surgery.
  • Stem cell research is ongoing and your cat may be a candidate. Consult with your veterinarian.
  • Take your cat for regular checkups to keep an eye on the progression of the disease and to see if any changes are necessary.

A special Thank You to Dr. Phil Zeltzman for his expert advice.

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