Signs Your Cat May Have Arthritis -The primary sign of arthritis is pain and stiffness in the inflamed joints, which may lead to lameness if limb joints are involved. If the joints of the spine are affected the cat may show an unwillingness to climb and to groom itself. The joints themselves may get hot and thickened, especially if infection is present. A veterinary surgeon may be able to detect crepitus; a grating sensation that can be felt as the join is moved. Radiographs are often needed to confirm the diagnoses.

Causes of Arthritis in cats – Both humans and dogs are very prone to degenerative osteoarthitis, but this is much less common in the cat. It results in damage to the cartilage and the formation of new bone around the joint. It can occur as an aging change, but more commonly in the cat, it is a result of some previous injury to the joint such as damage to the ligaments that support it. Given their tendency to get involved in fights, cats are more prone to suffer from infective arthritis, an inflammation of the joint caused by an infection that may be due to penetration of one particular joint. This may spread to one or more joints in the body in the blood stream from an infective source such as abscess. Occasionally, arthritis can be caused by a disorder of the immune system, where the bodys immune system attacks the joint tissue, as in rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment – Ideally, any course of treatment for arthritis should attempt to correct the underlying cause of the problem, although this is not always possible. Infection must be treated with an appropriate antibiotic if it is thought to be caused by bacteria, and any structural joint problem such as torn ligaments may need surgical repair. Long-term medical treatment may be needed to control chronic arthritis, and in overweight cats a determined effort to reduce the calorie intake will help to reduce wear and tear on the joints. Great care must be taken in the use of proprietary remedies, as many of the anti-inflammatory agents that are safe to use in other species are toxic to the cat. Even natural remedies can sometimes be dangerous. For example, cod-liver oil is often taken by humans to help with arthritis, but it contains large quantities of vitamin A that can actually cause bony inflammation in cats. There are some non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be safely used for the long-term alleviation of pain in cats suffering from arthritis, and sometimes low doses of corticosteroid drugs such as prednisolone are used, particularly in cases of immune-mediated arthritis.