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Feline Osteoarthritis: A Closer Look at Cat Joint Care

Feline Osteoarthritis: A Closer Look at Cat Joint Care

Feline osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that's often overlooked but significantly impacts the quality of life of many cats. As a degenerative joint disease, it involves the gradual breakdown of cartilage, leading to discomfort, stiffness, and reduced mobility in affected felines. Understanding its prevalence, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for cat owners and veterinarians to ensure proper care.

Clark Road Animal Clinic is among the first animal hospitals to offer a new treatment for feline osteoarthritis, Solensia. Solensia is the first and only monthly monoclonal antibody injection to control osteoarthritis (OA) pain in cats. OA is a chronic and painful condition of the joints, and it can severely hinder your cat’s health and well-being when left untreated. Click here to learn more about this new treatment.

Analyzing Feline Osteoarthritis 

Detecting osteoarthritis in cats can often be tricky because of their naturally stoic demeanor. Research indicates that as many as 90% of our feline friends over the age of 12 display signs of osteoarthritis in X-ray images, though not every cat will show outward signs of discomfort. This condition doesn't play favorites – it can impact cats of any breed and size. However, it's especially common in older and overweight cats, who tend to be more prone to this joint ailment.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Cats are masters at masking pain, making early detection of OA quite difficult. However, there are subtle signs that attentive cat owners can look for:

  • Altered Gait or Limping: This might be subtle and intermittent, often more noticeable after long periods of rest.
  • Reduced Mobility: Hesitation or inability to jump up or down from heights, or finding alternative ways to climb to elevated spots.
  • Behavioral Changes: Decreased playfulness, increased irritability, or changes in interactions with owners and other pets.
  • Joint Stiffness: Particularly after resting or in colder weather.
  • Over-Grooming or Licking: Focused on sore joints, which may even lead to bald spots.

Top Treatment Options for Feline Osteoarthritis

Managing OA in cats requires a well-rounded approach, focusing on alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, and enhancing the quality of life.

  • Weight Management and Diet: Keeping your cat at a healthy weight is crucial, as excess weight puts additional stress on the joints. Diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial.
  • Modified Exercise: Encouraging gentle play and activity can help maintain joint movement and muscle tone.
  • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed to manage pain and inflammation. However, they should be used cautiously due to potential side effects.
  • Monoclonal Antibody Treatment: The newest treatment option, Solensia, is a long-acting monthly injection given by a veterinarian that has fewer side effects than NSAIDs. Solensia is now available at Clark Road Animal Clinic.
  • Supplements: Like in dogs, supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can support joint health.
  • Physical Therapy: Gentle massage and controlled, low-impact exercises can improve joint flexibility and strength.
  • Laser Therapy: Low-level laser therapy can be effective in reducing joint inflammation and pain.
  • Acupuncture: Some cat owners have found success with acupuncture as a complementary treatment for pain relief and improved mobility.
  • Surgical Options: While less common than in dogs, surgical interventions may be considered in severe cases of feline OA.

How does Solensia work, and what makes it better than some other treatments?

Solensia is different from other treatments in many ways. First, it’s a long-acting injection given once a month by your veterinarian for pain control, so you won’t have to remember to give daily oral medications. Second, it’s a monoclonal antibody that targets a key culprit of OA pain and works in a similar way to the body’s own natural antibodies. Third, it has a much lower occurrence of side effects than some other OA medications. You can read more about how Solensia works and its many benefits here

What if my cat is already taking medication for OA?

Every cat responds differently to treatment for OA pain, so not all treatments are best for all cats. Your cat’s OA pain management plan may be a combination of weight management, exercise, and medication. Ask your veterinarian if Solensia should be a part of your cat’s pain management plan and make sure to inform them of your cat’s current medications. If you’d like to find out whether this new treatment is right for your cat, give us a call today at (941) 922-5007. Click here to request an appointment online.

Early detection and proactive management of feline osteoarthritis are key to maintaining a high quality of life for affected cats. Regular veterinary checkups are important, as they allow for early intervention and the management of this chronic condition. 


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