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Arthritis in Older Cats

 Submitted by Michael Adams on December 30, 2009

Our pets are no different to us, especially when they are old. Humans and their pets have a lot of diseases that are common between them. Just as in older human beings, arthritis in older cats is also very common.

The greatest difference is that the signs of arthritis in human beings are quite discernible, perhaps because humans can communicate their pain clearly. However, the signs of arthritis in older cats may be very subtle, so you may have to keep your pet under close observation in order to diagnose it.

Arthritis is a disease which may be seen in cat’s right from the time when they reach their middle age.

Around the time that cats reach the age of eight years, their metabolism may begin to slow down. In certain cases, you may also see your cat limping. Though limping is not typically a sign of arthritis, an older cat may experience intense pain and this may reduce its activity to a large extent.

Signs of arthritis in older cats: Some of the common discernible symptoms of arthritis in cats are lower levels of activity, decreased interaction with the human family and other pets, a deviation from normal habits like ignoring the litter boxes to excrete in the house, noticeable decline in appetite, wasting of muscles especially around the limbs, inability to climb over surfaces that are at a slightly raised level, and increased periods of inactivity and sleeping.

Since the symptoms of arthritis in cats are very subtle, the disease is not easily diagnosed. Radiography can be used to check for diagnosing any changes in the joints and bone structure of the cat. Usually, cats have arthritis around the hips or the hind legs. In some rare cases, arthritis may be reported in the spine of the cat.

Fortunately there are ways to treat arthritis in older cats. The treatment is usually centered around reducing the pain and the inflammation in the joints and the bones. In most cases, this is achieved by dietary supplements. Fish oils that contain omega 3 fatty acids are given to the cat in order to reduce inflammation.

There are many other rehabilitative treatments that older cats can undergo. Alternative therapies like acupuncture and acupressure are especially preferred by pet lovers. Just like in human beings, it is best to prevent arthritis in cats too. Dietary management and proper exercise may help the cats to avoid this debilitating condition.

Pet Health Instructor
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