Your furry feline companion moves much more slowly now in its old age. Arthritis in its joints makes walking painful. Your cat may spend hours sleeping in the same spot to avoid irritating its painful joints. Here are a number of ways that you can help your cat be more comfortable with this disease.
Give your cat a low-calorie, high-protein cat food that keeps it slim and gives it the energy it needs. Having to support less weight on its joints makes walking easier. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammation benefits which prevent the joint tissues from becoming swollen and painful. Look for foods and treats high in calcium and vitamin D, essential building blocks for new bone and cartilage growth in your cat's damaged joints.
With mild cases of arthritis, giving your cat a supplement such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate may help. These substances help to repair the cartilage in the joints that the arthritis has damaged. With healthier cartilage there is less irritation in the joints when your cat moves.
Arthritic joints become painful when the tissues in them swell. Medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) reduce the swelling and pain. Your vet can prescribe drugs, such as ibuprofen, for your cat in a dose that is effective against its joint inflammation but not toxic to the rest of its system. While high doses can be harmful to your cat's heart and liver, very low doses can be taken regularly to relieve its pain.
An injection of a steroid directly into the joint will cause immediate relief from pain and inflammation. Your vet may use this method when your cat is having extreme pain in one of its joints. The injections can only be done every few months because the steroids will reduce your cat's immune system response to illness.
Tiny needles inserted under the skin near the body's energy centers increase the circulation in the joints. The improved blood flow reduces inflammation and painful joints. There are no negative side effects so this is one treatment that can be used repeatedly on your cat.
Gentle massage around the joints increases circulation and reduces inflammation. Massage also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers. A massage therapist can also show you ways that you can do massage on your cat at home.
Place a heating pad under your cat's favorite sleeping spot. The heating pad will warm your cat's joints, reducing inflammation.
For help with any of these treatments or to get more advice or schedule a checkup for your cat, contact an establishment like Clayton Veterinary Associates.