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and Claws


Dr. Frank Lavac
VCA Wilshire Animal Hospital

How to Help a Cat With Arthritis
(Continued from Monthly Columns)

Traditionally, there have been fewer options for helping cats in pain compared to dogs. In canine patients, NSAIDS (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) are often the cornerstone of pain management. Cats are quite sensitive to NSAIDs and one, meloxicam, has a "black box warning" which states that repeated uses can lead to kidney failure or death.

As a result, we look to other options for pain control. The first step is to be able to identify cat pain.  Typical signs include "slowing down," reluctance to jump or go up stairs, "stiff" anorexia, withdrawal and other changes in your cat's normal behaviors.

Opioids, like buprenorphine, have become more commonly used for pain management. Other modalities include weight management, "Adequan," acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, joint mobility diets that are high in fish oil, and environmental accommodations.

There are several new pain medications that may be released soon that will benefit cats as well, including an antibody versus nerve growth factor. Work closely with your veterinarian to help identify and relieve your cat's pain.

Dr. Frank Lavac can be reached by calling 310-828-4587.



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