What Is the Treatment for Arthritis in Cats?

Laura M. Sands

The treatment for arthritis in cats includes pain and anti-inflammatory medications, as well as environmental adjustments to increase the cat’s physical comfort. Severe cases of arthritis in animals may also be treated with surgery. The exact course for treating arthritis in cats may vary and is usually determined by a veterinarian in collaboration with the pet’s owner.

Severe cases of arthritis in animals may be treated with surgery.
Severe cases of arthritis in animals may be treated with surgery.

Feline arthritis is incurable. With proper treatment and assistance, however, arthritis in cats can be managed so the pet can live comfortably. Anti-inflammatory glucosamine-based medications are the most commonly recommended treatment for this ailment, as such medications help relieve joint swelling and pain.

A cat with arthritis may be administered anti-inflammatory medications.
A cat with arthritis may be administered anti-inflammatory medications.

While arthritis in cats is not a life-threatening condition, it can be very painful for animals. This is especially true in cases where arthritis has caused a physical deformity of one or more bones or joints, or when a pet has suffered a break in one of these areas. In order to correct such issues, a veterinarian may recommend surgical relief.

Understanding the causes of arthritis in cats also helps in determining the appropriate treatment approach. Some cats may experience a sudden onset of arthritis after fighting with another cat or after being hit by a car, bike or some other moving vehicle. Veterinarians must often perform surgery to reset dislocated or broken bones while also hoping to relieve arthritic symptoms.

Other treatment options for feline arthritis include making dietary and environmental changes. Arthritis in cats is commonly caused by the bearing of too much weight on the joints, as is often found in overweight animals. Vets will, therefore, recommend a change in diet as well as increased exercise to help a cat slim down to a more comfortable and healthy size. Regardless of the cause of its onset, veterinarians will also recommend environmental changes, such as making sure the cat does not have to climb to reach a resting place and that a cat’s environment is kept at a warm temperature to avoid further joint pain.

Arthritis in cats may also be treated by physical therapy. Veterinary physical therapists will assist cats with increasing the range of motion of certain joints to gain greater flexibility and reduce inflammation. Treating arthritis in cats in this way may be helpful, but experts warn against excessive movement or exercise, which can be painful and cause further stress to inflamed joints.

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