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Osteoarthritis in Cats

Slingerland LI, Hazewinkel HA, Meij BP, et al. Cross-sectional study of the prevalence and clinical features of osteoarthritis in 100 cats. Vet J 2010.

A growing awareness of osteoarthritis (OA) – also called degenerative joint disease – in cats has led to investigation of the clinical signs, radiographic findings, and treatments. Cats are well known for their ability to compensate for orthopedic diseases and clinical signs of arthritis are more difficult to detect in this species and are different than those seen in dogs. OA has an important impact on mobility, activity and well-being. This study evaluated 100 cats over the age of 6 years. Each cat had a physical examination and had radiographs taken of the front and hind limbs. Owners were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their cat’s behavior. OA was most common in the shoulders, elbows, hips and tarsal joints. The majority of cats (61%) had OA in at least one joint, and 48% had OA in more than one joint. Factors related to the presence of OA included advancing age, decreased mobility and grooming, and increased inappropriate elimination. This study supports findings of other studies in the last 10 years and reinforces the fact that OA is very common in middle-aged and older cats, and is associated with behavior changes. [SL]

Related articles:
Lascelles B. Feline degenerative joint disease. Vet Surg 2010;39:2-13.