Pet Talk

Q. Cinnamon, my 20-year-old cat, has some bad arthritis. Her legs bow out a bit and she moves very cautiously. What can I do for her?

A. There are medications and supplements that may help Cinnamon. She should receive an exam and evaluation from her veterinarian, at which time you can discuss a pain management program best suited for her.

If her pain is severe, the vet may prescribe a prescription painkiller.

They may also recommend oral joint supplements containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin. There is an injectable form of glucosamine as well that can be used to help with arthritis called Adequan. Another possibility is Duralactin Feline, which is a nutritional product that contains microlactin, a milk protein formulated for use in joint health care support. It can be used alone, or in combination with other supplements.

For reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis you could also consider omega-3 fatty acids, which research has shown to be helpful.

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, cold laser treatments or chiropractic adjustments may be beneficial for Cinnamon as well. Some kitties may appreciate a gentle massage to help ease the pain of arthritis. Moderate exercise can help keep muscles and joints supple.

I also recommend that you consider making some changes around your home that may also benefit Cinnamon. A nice soft orthopedic bed will help ease joint discomfort. A pet heating pad may be welcome for some relief. There are microwavable heating pads for added safety. If she likes to get up on the couch or bed, some kitty stairs or a ramp may be helpful.

Make sure she has easy access to her food, water and litter box. Instead of having to bend down to eat and drink, make it easier by slightly raising her dishes. A litter box with low sides may make it easier for her to get in and out when nature calls.

She may also need some help grooming herself if it is uncomfortable for her to reach certain areas. Some gentle brushing and combing should help Cinnamon feel her best.

I hope my suggestions will be helpful in managing Cinnamon’s arthritic pain.

Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].