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Cats and Arthritis

Robertson, S. A. (2008). “Osteoarthritis in cats: What we now know about recognition and treatment.” Vet Med 103(11): 611-616.

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is a common cause of chronic pain in middle-aged and older cats. It is now known to be much more common in cats than previously thought. Clinical signs include unwillingness to jump, stiff gait, decreased grooming, house soiling, irritability, and hiding. Unlike dogs, lameness is not necessarily a common clinical sign of osteoarthritis in cats. Elbows and hips are most commonly affected, and many cats have disease in more than one joint. Pathologic changes, many detectable on radiographs, include deterioration of articular cartilage, osteophyte formation, bone remodeling, soft tissue changes, and low-grade nonpurulent inflammation. Treatment includes weight reduction if applicable, and environmental changes such as making the litter box more accessible. Medical therapy may include nutraceuticals, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and analgesics. Non-pharmacological interventions include passive range of motion exercises and acupuncture.

Related articles:
Gunew, M. N., V. H. Menrath, et al. (2008). “Long-term safety, efficacy and palatability of oral meloxicam at 0.01-0.03 mg/kg for treatment of osteoarthritic pain in cats.” Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 10(3): 235-241.
>> PubMed Abstract

Lascelles, B. D., B. D. Hansen, et al. (2007). “Evaluation of client-specific outcome measures and activity monitoring to measure pain relief in cats with osteoarthritis.” J Vet Intern Med 21(3): 410-6.
>> PubMed Abstract