At the age of 10, Blaze, a Maine Coon, had slowed down a bit. Recently, her Pet Parent noticed that she seemed to be favoring her right front leg and suspected the cause was due to more than just age. After a visit to the veterinarian, Blaze was diagnosed with mild osteoarthritis.
“As dogs and cats age, cartilage can decrease resulting in joint inflammation, stiffness and achiness,” says Dr. Robyn Jaynes, PetSmart veterinary expert.
Osteoarthritis is a common form of joint and musculoskeletal disease in older cats that mostly affects the shoulder and elbow joints. Symptoms include stiffness and limitations in motion especially when it’s cold or damp and after lying down for long periods. Traumatic arthritis is another common form of arthritis in cats which may be caused by an injury such as an awkward fall.
Studies have shown that premium cat foods rich in certain fatty acids and Glucosamine and Chondroitin can reduce joint inflammation as well as damage caused by osteoarthritis.
“Long-chain omega 3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) are found in fish oils and may help reduce the inflammation due to joint damage,” says Mark Finke, Ph.D. and pet nutritionist.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are natural substances that can help repair cartilage. They can be found naturally in high-quality proteins including chicken meal, fish meal and lamb meal. You can also find foods specially formulated for hip and joint health with added levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
Weight control is also an important factor in managing your cat’s arthritis. If your pet is overweight and experiencing joint or hip discomfort, consult your veterinarian and ask about switching to a reduced calorie premium food. Also inquire about supplements that can help control clinical symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The information used in this report is approved by PetSmart nutritionists and vet experts.
Information from “Small Animal Clinical Nutrition,” 4th Edition, Hand, Thatcher, Remillard, Roudebush, Copyright 2000 by Mark Morris Institute was used in this report.