Definition of Arthritis in Cats
Arthritis, also sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease (DJD) or osteoarthritis (OA), refers to the inflammation and weakening of one or more joints. It can be caused by a number of things, such as trauma, physical abnormalities, joint infections, genetic predispositions and immune system problems. Arthritis is painful, slowly progressive and almost always permanent. It can contribute to stiffness, pain, lameness, joint deformities and loss of normal function, depending on the number and location of joints involved and the age and general health of the affected animal. Arthritis is less common and usually milder in cats than in dogs. Fortunately, there are several things that owners can do to help arthritic cats (and dogs) lead full and fairly pain-free lives, including weight management, dietary and lifestyle changes, surgical procedures and use of various approved medications and supplements.