As our cat gets older, his body wears out. It is a natural process that can cause a series of ills typical of old age, and there is one in particular that is often very difficult to detect: osteoarthritis .
This animal is a master when it comes to hiding pain, so much so that to detect osteoarthritis in cats we can only do one thing: observe it daily. Every detail, every change, no matter how small and insignificant it may be, can be a sign that our friend has a problem with his joints.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that can affect all vertebrate animals that produces the destructive alteration of the cartilage of the joints , causing the affected animal to feel a lot of pain when walking or moving its legs or, in the case of cats, legs. .
As we know, joints are the components of the skeleton that allow the connection between two bones. At the ends of these bones there is cartilage, which is a tissue that protects them. However, as we age, and after having used our joints for years, in the end this tissue ends up deteriorating.
But not everything ends like this. The bone, previously covered by cartilage, now begins to grow from the sides, causing the joint to deform.
When does it appear in the cat?
The cat is a fast growing and developing animal, whose life expectancy is, sadly, only 20 years. When you turn 10 years old, you are considered to have reached old age, so it is common for you to have problems associated with the elderly at any time, being more likely after 12 years.
But, as we mentioned, detecting it is very difficult. By instinct, he will hide his pain and continue to lead a completely normal life until the discomfort is so great that he cannot bear it anymore. When that happens, the disease will already have advanced a lot. For this reason, it is important to carefully observe our furry.
How to know that my cat has it?
Any change in your routine should be of concern to us. If our beloved cat is older, in the case of suffering from osteoarthritis or any problem related to his joints, he can become very irritable and even aggressive when we stroke his back or hindquarters.
Another issue that should also concern us is its hygiene. If you are in a lot of pain, you will avoid straying too far from your bed, so you will likely relieve yourself near it . In addition, you will lose mobility, which in turn will cause the loss of muscle mass.
In situations in which the osteoarthritis has advanced a lot, or in which the pain is very intense, the feline may stop grooming as often as it did before, so knots could form in its hair and it could become dull .
How is it diagnosed and what is the treatment?
If we suspect that he has a problem with his joints, it is advisable that we take him to the vet as soon as possible. Once there, you will have an X-ray and a blood test , which is usually enough to confirm the diagnosis.
Medical treatment will consist of giving him anti-inflammatories , but at home we will also have to make some changes.
Caring for a cat with osteoarthritis
It is convenient to give it a high quality diet, which contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants, and is free of cereals and by-products , such as Acana, Orijen, Taste of the Wild, True Instinct High Meat, among others.
If until now we had a cushion-type bed on a high surface, to make life easier it is highly recommended to buy an orthopedic or igloo-type bed and place it on the floor so that, in this way, you do not have to jump.
A sick cat may stop grooming. If our friend stops doing it, we will have to take care of brushing him daily, as well as keeping his eyes and ears clean using a clean gauze and avoiding going too deep.
Affection is essential for the feline to want to move on and have the strength to do so . A cat with osteoarthritis is a sick cat that needs, now more than ever, the company and affection of its family. Of course, it will be necessary to avoid caressing the areas that hurt, but that does not mean that we cannot give him kisses as we have done so far for example.
He will not be able to play, but he will continue to be our furry, our friend.
Osteoarthritis in cats is a common disease in those who have reached old age. As the caregivers that we are, it is up to us to provide them with the best so that they can continue to be happy by our side until the end of their days.
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