Your senior cat and best friend starts urinating outside the litter box. What is your diagnosis? Is it bladder disease? I might be, but it could be arthritis!
It is estimated that 90% of cats older than 12 years have arthritis commonly in their elbows or hips. Obvious clinical signs include pain, decreased activity, and reluctance to jump. You might also see less obvious signs such as aggression, weight loss, and inappropriate urination and defecation. Physical exam and x-rays are the hallmark of diagnosis. Treatment options are many and are based on each case and physical exam. Weight loss for our heavier friends is always the first step. Other options may include using a combination of glucosamine, NSAID, analgesics, or prescription foods containing high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, and therapeutic laser treatments. We can discuss all these options on your next exam.
Greg Windschill, DVM
New Ulm Regional Veterinary Center