Common cat arthritis medication options range from Omega 3 to feline aquapuncture injections using B12. Despite an arthritic condition, your client's cat can still experience a good quality of life.
Omega-joint – based on chicken and flaxseed providing masses of absorbable Omega-3’s, as is the Omega-derm – from Vetologica, makes a big difference to some of these cats and is not depleting our oceans of fish.
If the arthritis is too severe, or else if the bones have fused so there is no more pain (it is the movement of bone-on-bone that is painful, not the presence of osteophytes etc), then nothing will help and at least you can then say the cat is not painful, just moving oddly because that keeps itself pain free.
It's the same for me and lots of people!
If the cat is really freezing up and their kidneys are OK, then Meloxicam and Onsior (drug?) daily can make these cats very happy.
Meloxicam is no longer registered for chronic use for cats in the USA, however, it has recently been shown to have a protective effect for the kidneys – or at least that cats with renal insufficiency, who were also taking low-doses (0.05 – 0.03 mgs / cat sid) of meloxicam, lived longer.
The supposition is that they were happier cats so they ate better, but I'm guessing there will eventually be an effect on slowing down the interstitial glomerulonephritis as well.
Meanwhile, cats can be in trouble with their kidneys AND be comfortable. If you give Onsior 6 days in 7, then that is pretty close to the registered use. I have found a couple of elderly cats who went off their food when they took Onsior, so am not as keen on it for older cats, but it works well for the 30% of cats between 2 and 6 who have arthritis.
By the time you get to 10 years, be mindful that 90% of cats will be showing radiographic evidence of arthritis – but you still have to ask the owners for the signs.
Slowing down and being grumpy may be a sign of arthritis or pain, and not just of time passing (old age is not a diagnosis nor disease..).
The alternative for the younger arthritis cats is also the prescription diet j/d, which also has masses of Omega-3 and works very well. The problem is it does taste VERY fishy and not all cats like the flavour of the dried version in particular.
As with all these diet things, the j/d has to be the MAJOR (>95%) component of the diet to get the benefits. Otherwise, don’t waste the money on the prescription diets.
Same if it is any of them – Waltham s/o, diabetic, hypoallergenic or renal, prescription k/d, z/d, m/d s/d (especially).
Cat pain relief medication has come a long way in the last 10 years. Here is a brief summary...
Metacam, Onsior and Rimadyl are the main drugs. One comes as very palatable drops, the other two are pretty tasty tablets. Metacam, in particular, has made a huge difference to many cats, turning them from crabby old cats to comfortable elderly feline friends again. They can cause gastric irritation in some cats, but in general are safe and effective.
These are injections which improve the lining of cartilage (and the bladder as well). This is useful for cats that will not take medications orally, and if it works, keeps the cat comfortable for 6 - 12 months. The cat usually has to have 4 injections, each a week apart, with top up doses monthly in some cases.
These are extracts of green lipped mussels, fish oil supplements, chicken-derived Omega-3’s like Joint Supplement from Vetologica, and also Deer Velvet tablets. They are palatable and natural products that can be used in conjunction with the others and helps mend cartilage as well.
This used to be the only safe painkiller for cats. Its use for this function has declined since the other products are available. However, sometimes if the cat has several problems going on together, cortisone is powerful enough to modify arthritis as well as other conditions.