As we discussed last week, cats are very good at hiding their pain and it can be difficult to know if they are uncomfortable. The best thing is to voice your concerns to your veterinarian so that you may work together to determine if your cat has arthritis and, if so, the best way of treating arthritis in cats so that she will feel better.

Medications
treating arthritis in cats

If your cat is limping, having trouble jumping, or just slowing down, they may be developing arthritis

In dogs, the first line medication for treating joint pain is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) such as Rimadyl or Metacam. Unfortunately cats do not tolerate these medications long term and can develop kidney disease from them. In my opinion the only medication that is safe for long-term pain management in cats is gabapentin. This medication works on neuropathic pain and while it does not treat inflammation like the NSAIDs it can help make a kitty more comfortable.

While we are limited in what we can use for oral medications, there are other options for treating arthritis in cats such as laser therapy and acupuncture. Both of these treatments have no side effects and are generally well tolerated in cats. The only downside is that you usually have to bring your cat to the hospital, which is not always enjoyed by our feline friends.

Laser Therapy

At Friendship Hospital for Animals we have a therapeutic laser that uses specific wavelengths of light to decrease inflammation and stimulate healing. During each painless treatment, the laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level to increase metabolic activity within each cell. A cascade of beneficial effects is initiated, increasing circulation and drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain.

You may ask if shining a light on a cat really works; I believe it does. There are more than one hundred rigorously controlled, scientific studies in humans that document the effectiveness of laser for many clinical conditions such as joint pain, hip dysplasia, swelling, ligament sprains, muscle strains, bite wounds, traumatic injuries, post-surgical pain and chronic wounds. It doesn’t work for every cat and can be expensive but I have seen some impressive results in my patients.

Acupuncture Therapy

Acupuncture is the ancient practice of placing tiny needles in specific points on the body to treat a variety of conditions. Pain relief is the most common use for acupuncture in pets. Again it can be a difficult to gauge if it is effective or not but given our limited treatment options for cats with arthritis it is certainly something worth trying. There is also some evidence that acupuncture can also be used for weight loss.

treating arthritis in cats

Acupuncture is just one option for treating arthritis in cats

Remember, if you do notice some stiffness, limping or slowing down in your cat, talk to your veterinarian about your options. Weight loss goes hand in hand with all of these treatment options. Removing any extra weight and stress on your cat’s joints will improve mobility and help make him more comfortable. If you determine that your kitty has arthritis then these are a few things to try to help alleviate pain.

Ashley Gallagher, DVM

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail
Tagged on:             

Related Posts

Help your dogs survive the pain of IVDD This week's guest blogger is Lisa Luckenbach. Lisa is the founder and creator of WiggleLess® Back Braces for dogs. Read about her personal struggle ca...
Early detection and treatment of cat kidney disease The water in canned cat food helps to flush out the kidneys Chronic cat kidney disease is an all too common finding in middle-aged to senior kitti...
Pet Obesity – Let’s End This Epidemic Free feeding pets is just one of the causes of pet obesity At PetTrax, we are focused on helping pet owners keep their pets healthy through proper...
Therapy Animals – Bringing Smiles to People Everywhere While most therapy animals are dogs, trained cats are also being used with great therapeutic effects If you’re an animal lover, you have probably ...
Portion control helps pets stay healthy Free feeding your pets is a recipe for your pets becoming overweight Portion control is a critical element in managing your pet’s weight. I have s...
Pet Allergies Are Itchy Springtime has finally arrived in Washington, DC and with the beautiful cherry blossoms comes an onslaught of pollen and allergens. Pet allergies can ...
What are the differences between pet medications and human m... Mobile apps like Good RX help you find the lowest prices for medications Did you know that most of the pet medications we use for cats and dogs ar...