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Did you know an overweight cat has a higher frequency of Osteoarthritis?

Preventive Healthcare Guidelines for Cats

The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association have paired up to develop preventive feline healthcare guidelines to help veterinarians and cat owners keep cats healthy and happy. All medical professionals are increasing their reliance on scientifically grounded clinical guidelines such as these to improve patient health, quality of care, and quality of life. Veterinarians recognize the usefulness of these guidelines in elevating the standard of care they can provide to their feline patients.

The guidelines can ultimately help cats live longer and healthier lives.

We know that most cats do not receive the level of veterinary care that they need and deserve, mostly because they don’t visit their veterinarian frequently enough. These cats are missing out on regular wellness care, and their owners aren’t taking advantage of professional health guidance from their veterinarians, both of which can help extend cats’ lives.

What are the details of the preventive healthcare guidelines that apply to my cat?

The guidelines recommend that all cats receive a complete veterinary examination at least once a year, although many cats should be seen more frequently, depending on their individual needs and health concerns. The visit should include a review of the cat’s recent history, lifestyle, life stage, activities of daily living, general behavior, and diet. The physical examination itself should include a dental assessment, pain assessment, and body condition scoring.

All cats should receive a complete veterinary examination at least once a year. 

Osteoarthritis in Cats—Joint Support and Disease
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive, degenerative disease of the joints. Although dramatically under recognized, it is actually one of the most common chronic diseases of cats. One study at a veterinary teaching hospital suggested that more than 90% of cats over 10 years of age have radiographic evidence of OA.

What causes osteoarthritis?
The contributing causes of OA are many and varied. Some genetic abnormalities can prevent joints from developing normally. OA can also result from a traumatic injury to a joint (for instance, in a cat that has fallen out of a tree or been hit by a car). Overweight and obesity are important contributing factors in feline OA. The joints of an overweight or obese cat are subjected to repetitive pounding that over time contributes to the initiation and progression of OA and the degenerative, painful processes associated with it.

What can I do to help my cat with OA?
Your veterinarian is the best source for a comprehensive OA management plan. Certainly, if a cat is overweight or obese, that is where we must start, but there is much more that can be done to help support the joints of a cat suffering from OA. In addition to diet modifications, exercise, weight loss, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a multimodal OA management strategy may include a disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD).

Call your local VCA Animal Hospital to schedule your cat’s free first exam today!
-VCA Animal Hospitals

Last modified on Thursday, 01 May 2014 15:06
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