Diagnosis of arthritis
Diagnosis is often based on the clinical signs of pain, swelling or reduced movement in joints.
X-rays can be taken to confirm, but these are rarely required.
We may need to rule out other diseases in cats with urine or blood tests.
Management of arthritis
Although OA cannot be cured, there are many ways in which the condition can be managed to improve your cat’s quality of life.
Changes at home
- Use soft comfortable beds in an easy access location
- Use steps or ramps to help your cat access any high spots they like
- Buy a litter tray with at least one low side for easy access
- Make sure food and water bowls are not upstairs
- Groom your cat if they will tolerate it to prevent matts building up
Diet and supplements
Keeping your cat at a healthy weight is very important as being overweight will exacerbate arthritis and put your cat at risk of other diseases.
We can advise on suitable diets and our nurses run weight clinics to guide you on controlled weight loss for your cat.
Several supplements for arthritis are available for cats. These contain essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation and glucosamine and chondroitin which help to improve quality of cartilage.
There is limited evidence of their effectiveness, but they are unlikely to have any side effects and can be useful in playing a part in managing the disease.
The most common drugs used for OA are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce pain and inflammation.
We will be able to discuss the options, potential side effects and monitoring required for these drugs during your consultation.
In some cases we may use additional drugs for pain relief such as tramadol, gabapentin or amantadine.
Solensia is a monthly injection given to cats with arthritis which reduces pain signals. It is safe to be used in many cats with concurrent health problems.
Additional treatments such as acupuncture or physiotherapy can be useful in certain patients.
Often a combination of all the above will be used to try to manage your cat’s condition and improve their quality of life.