While there is no cure for hip dysplasia in cats, there are things that can be done to help alleviate discomfort and manage quality of life. The overall goals of therapy are to relieve pain and stabilize the hip joints to return the cat to normal or near-normal function. Depending upon the severity of disease, the veterinarian will recommend a treatment plan that may contain both surgical and non-surgical options.
Non-Surgical Options for Treating Hip Dysplasia in Cats
Cats with mild hip dysplasia frequently respond well to conservative medical management on an outpatient basis. Of course, which treatment protocol to adopt depends upon the cat’s age, health, activity level, intended function (companion, show, etc.), the severity of joint laxity, the existence and degree of osteoarthritis, the veterinarian’s personal treatment preferences and the financial considerations of the owner. Non-surgical options include physical therapy, dietary management, weight control, activity restriction and use of oral anti-inflammatory and pain management medications. Corticosteroids normally are not recommended as part of a treatment plan for feline hip dysplasia, because despite their beneficial anti-inflammatory effects, they also can cause cartilage damage with long-term use. A number of oral supplements are available to help protect and lubricate joints as well. In many cases, weight loss alone can dramatically reduce the pain and clinical signs associated with hip dysplasia in overweight cats.
Surgical Options for Treating Hip Dysplasia in Cats
There are a number of surgical options for treating hip dysplasia, if less intrusive methods do not accomplish acceptable results. Depending on the severity of the condition in a given cat, its veterinarian may attempt to modify the existing hip joint surgically or instead may opt for a total hip replacement. These surgical techniques are usually (or sometimes exclusively) performed on dogs; whether they are routinely available for affected cats is unclear. A veterinary orthopedic surgeon is the best one to consult about available surgical treatment options for feline hip dysplasia.