Arthritis in Cats | Aspen Grove Animal Hospital - Fort Collins

Arthritis in Cats

Signs of arthritis in cats often are similar to signs of normal aging. However, just because your cat is getting older, doesn’t mean they should be in pain.

Please schedule a Senior Checkup if your cat seems to have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks. Because our furry friends aren’t able to tell us when something is wrong, it’s important for you to take note of any change in their behavior.

Look for any of the following signs;  they may be your cat’s way of saying “I hurt.”

Being overly vocal

  • Meowing
  • Purring (a pur does not always mean “I’m happy”)
  • Hissing
  • Growling

Change in daily habits

  • Withdraws/hides
  • Decreased appetite
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in drinking
  • Litter box problems
  • Increased urination
  • Decreased grooming (looks unkempt)
  • Increased sleeping

Self-Mutilation

  • Licking
  • Biting
  • Scratching in one area of the body

Change in Activity Level

  • Restless or repeatedly getting up and laying down
  • Reluctant to move or get up
  • Limp
  • Hides
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Can’t jump as high
  • Seeks more attention than usual
  • Avoids being touched

Body Posture

  • Lays with feet curled underneath
  • Arched back
  • Tucked abdomen

Facial Expressions

  • Vacant stare
  • Wide eyes or looks sleepy
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Flat ears
  • Pants while at rest

Treatment options to reduce or eliminate pain

Nutrition

Through nutritional consulting, we will carefully monitor your cat’s diet to ensure he is not adding unneeded pounds.  Maintaining a healthy diet will improve your pet’s pain level by managing his weight, regularity and physical health. Depending on your pet’s condition, he may need a special diet.

Medication

There is a variety of pain medications available. Aside from pill form, many drugs come in easily administered forms such as liquids, skin patches or gels.

There are also new analgesic (pain-reducing) products to help treat your pet after an injurious trauma or to help treat chronic pain.  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are often used to treat orthopedic-related pain with very few side effects.

There are several other classes of pain medications and it is important that we decide together (pet owner and veterinarian) the best treatment plan for your pet.

Alternative Therapies

In addition to pharmaceutical treatment, complementary (or alternative) options are becoming more available. Supplements, acupuncture, homeopathy, and even laser therapy are being used to help manage pain in animals. We’ll help you decide whether complementary medicine would be beneficial for your pet.

Whether your choice is complementary or traditional medical practices, consider the side effects and the time spent for each treatment option.  We will review with you the costs, benefits and risks of the various treatment options.

As with any medical condition, pain management requires a team effort between us in order to have a happier and healthier companion.