Arthritis is a condition that many people experience in their older age. Cats can also get arthritis. Though arthritis more often manifests itself in humans and dogs, it can be a feline condition as well. Arthritis cannot be prevented, but with early detection, it can be alleviated by your help and the help of a veterinarian.
What exactly is arthritis? Arthritis is a condition where acute or chronic inflammation of a joint, often accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness occurs. This condition can result from an infection, trauma, degenerative changes, or other various causes. It occurs in an assortment of forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few.
Traumatic arthritis is basically a name for a sprained joint. This occurs when a cat has landed on its feet in an awkward position, they have been accidentally stepped on causing a sprained joint, or possibly have been hit by a moving object. This causes discomfort and inflammation of a joint (or many joints), and must be looked at properly by a physician.
Osteoarthritis is more common in cats that traumatic arthritis. This is the vein of arthritis that is most common in humans. Osteoarthritis may be defined as a condition that affects people (or in this case, felines) in their older age. It is the result of slow wear and tear on joints throughout the years that manifests itself in the elderly. The destruction of the thin layers of cartilage surrounding the joint occurs, thus causing pain and discomfort each time the joint is moved. In cats, the osteoarthritis is most often seen in their shoulders and elbows, though it can occur in their hip and ankle regions as well.
Bacterial arthritis can also occur in cats. This most often occurs when a cat has been bitten, scratched, or has received some kind of wound to a joint. The joint becomes swollen, painful, and is sensitive and warm to touch, not to mention the cat will not want to place any pressure upon the affected joint. This infection is often accompanied by a fever and a severe loss of appetite. If you suspect infection-induced arthritis, take your cat to your local veterinary clinic immediately.
How can you determine if your cat has developed feline arthritis? If your kitty demonstrates a reluctance to place pressure on any one joint after rising from a nap or when it is cold or rainy outside can be a sign of feline arthritis. Displays of swollen joints, stiffness, limping or lameness are also common signs of arthritis. Oftentimes, in addition to the physical evidence of arthritis, cats often show signs of grumpiness or irritability at being handled by others.
Arthritis is not a fun condition for felines, but if it is detected early on by your veterinarian, it can usually be treated and made much more bearable for your cat. Prescriptions can be given to alleviate the discomfort and pain of your cat, and you can also place warm compresses on their joints to help ease their pain and lower the swelling. Early detection is key in your kitty’s comfort. Take your cat to the vet regularly each year to stay on top of your cat’s precious health.