Jun 26, 2020

New Checklist to Help Detect Osteoarthritis Pain in Cats

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Cat Stem Cells

When we think of arthritis in our pets, most of us immediately think of dogs. We have all heard about or experienced firsthand dogs with arthritic joints. But what about cats? Well, the truth is, osteoarthritis (OA) in cats is a lot more common than you may think. It is estimated that 45% of all cats and 90% of cats over age 10 are affected by arthritis in some way. Unfortunately, feline arthritis tends to go undiagnosed.

Symptoms of OA in Cats

With such a high percentage of cats potentially affected by arthritis, why is the problem underdiagnosed? The most obvious answer is that most pet owners do not know that their cat has OA because the signs are different than in dogs. The typical symptoms we see in dogs such as limping, stiffness, and pain, are generally not present or are much less noticeable in cats with the same ailment. Cats do not present pain in the same way dogs might. For instance, they do not generally vocalize pain and instead of limping, cats might not jump as well or as high. Knowing the signs is key to helping your veterinarian determine if your cat is affected by OA.

New Checklist to Check for Early Signs of OA

Because cats tend to hide their ailments well, researchers set out to develop a new checklist to help both cat owners and veterinarians determine if a cat is affected by pain associated with OA, also knows as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). The recent publication analyzed and compiled data from previously conducted studies to develop a short checklist that veterinarians can use to help detect pain associated with DJD. The checklist may also be beneficial for owners who are concerned their cat may have OA.

The compiled data allowed researchers to pare down longer diagnostic questionnaires into six short questions:

  1. Does your cat jump up normally?
  2. Does your cat jump down normally?
  3. Does your cat climb up stairs or steps normally?
  4. Does your cat climb down stairs or steps normally?
  5. Does your cat run normally?
  6. Does your cat chase moving objects (toys, prey, etc.)

What to Do If You Think Your Cat May Have OA

If you answered no to any of the above questions and your cat hasn’t suffered any obvious injury that you know of, this might indicate that your cat may have OA. The first thing to do is make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the diagnosis. If it is confirmed that your cat has OA, there are several treatment options that may bring your cat relief. The American College of Veterinary Surgeons recommends a multi-modal approach to pain management for arthritic cats. This may include weight management, physical rehabilitation and certain medications. If your cat is prescribed medication for pain, it is important to monitor them closely with your veterinarian to check for adverse side effects.

Stem cell therapy is another natural treatment option for cats with OA. Like dogs, fat is collected from the patient and shipped to the VetStem laboratory. After processing, VetStem will ship your cat’s own stem cells back to the veterinarian in injectable doses. Though the majority of our clinical data is from dogs, cats have responded to VetStem Cell Therapy in a similar way to dogs. Stem cells have shown the ability to reduce pain and inflammation and thereby improve a patient’s quality of life.

If you think your cat may benefit from stem cell therapy, contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Sep 28, 2018

Feline Arthritis: It’s Not Just a Dog Problem

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Stem Cell Therapy

As you may know, the majority of our blogs focus on canine arthritis.  But let’s not forget about our feline friends.  Like dogs, cats are living longer, healthier lives and also suffer from common “old age” problems such as osteoarthritis. In fact, in a retrospective study conducted at a major veterinary school, radiographs from 100 cats that were presented to the teaching hospital for illnesses unrelated to arthritis were re-evaluated.  90% of the cats had radiographic evidence of degenerative joint disease.

How do you know if your cat has arthritis?  Well, first of all, they may not show the same
signs of arthritis that dogs do.  For instance, they may not noticeably limp the way dogs do.  Cats generally hide their pain very well.  Listed below are some questions you can ask yourself to see if your cat may have osteoarthritis.

  1. Is your cat less active than he/she used to be?  While cats are not known to be high performance athletes, a change in activity level may indicate pain associated with arthritis and not necessarily just normal ‘lazy’ cat behavior.
  2. Is your cat missing the litterbox? While this could be a behavioral issue or the sign of a kidney or bladder issue, also consider OA. Some cats may be too painful to want to step into and out of a litterbox.
  3. Does your cat take longer to get up from lying down or have difficulty moving around?  If your cat no longer jumps on that high ledge like he/she used to, your cat may have arthritis.

Did you answer yes to one or more of the above questions?  If so, you should consult with your veterinarian to determine if your cat has arthritis.  While there are not a lot of safe options for controlling pain in cats, VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy has been shown to be a low-risk and effective treatment for osteoarthritis.  If you are interested in consulting with a credentialed VetStem provider, contact us to receive a list of providers in your area.

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