Arthritis in pets

anntn6b(z6b TN)July 25, 2006

Has anyone had experience with cats or small dogs living with arthritis confined to their hips?

Our wonderful Ferret(faced Feline) has lost her ability to jump (at the youthful age of 8 years) and today at the Vets we saw an X-ray of her hip ball in socket joints. Really bad, although she passed on all blood tests and the rest of her bones and joints look good.

She has medicine now, but any hints for rebuilding muscles?

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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

That's sad. A ferret that can't jump and move about quickly would probably be very unhappy. How long do these guys live? I've had dogs with arthritis in the hips which normally ocurred as they age. There didn't seem to be much that could be done beyond the basic pain relief. I hate to think about this stuff, which is why I don't have pets any more.

Sorry, I'm not much help, am I?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 7:42AM
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My son's Yellow Lab had very bad arthritis---they finally had surgery for him.
I agree with Harry----
We always had lots of pets but when we lost our last "Golden" I was so heartbroken I'm afraid to get another pet.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 8:56AM
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My old weenie dog had terrible arthritis. I bought a combination chondroitin (sp) + something else at Pet Smart that seemed to help some. I don't know anything at all about ferrets. Wonder if she could take a tiny amount of baby tylenol or something? I would think movement would be the only thing to rebuild muscles, but she's not going to exercise if she hurts.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:01AM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Ferrett is a kitty- when she was dumped here, her face was really narrow and her markings just suggested ferrets or lemurs and we needed a quick name to differentiate her from her sister (also a callico) and she started replying to the name Ferrett really fast- so her sister got named Hot Lips with homage to M.A.S.H. We think we are seeing a similar but lesser problem in Hot Lips.
We seem to get about 15 to 20 years on our cats if fate doesn't intervene.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:23AM
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Ann I have found that the glucosamine pills my vet gave our cat helped a lot. We have a friend who is also using this with her cat and she is now moving around well again as well. I found that this helped keep my kitties mobile but they have never returned to their old jumping ways. Other things I have done is add steps to favorite furniture or up to the bed. They still use their climbing posts but there are levels that they can easily work their way back to the floor without the jar of jumping. Luckily mine didn't start this until they were around 13. With management Ferret should be able to live a nice long life, as cats seem to adapt to a given situation.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:36AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Ann, did the vet not have anything helpful? My Corgi has some powdered stuff to sprinkle on his food, he has bad hips and back.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:41AM
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vics_gardenkeeper(7b AL)

We do three things with the dogs:
1. supplements and pain relief
2. vet chiropractic adjustments (probably not one near you)
3. water therapy using the flotation vests that Drs Foster and Smith sells.

Any chance that Ferret is one of those rare cats that likes water?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 12:01PM
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Glucosomine/chondroitin was *really* helpful to my ancient Collie.

It took a while, seems like 2 or 3 weeks, but the old guy improved so much that he could lift that hind leg again!

At the top of this page, you can click on Home Forums (in the dark green stripe). Once there, go to the Pets Forum & post.

There're lots of knowledgeable & helpful people over there, & some of them are vet techs & whatnot.

Best luck to Ferrett.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 12:23PM
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jody(7b - NC)

Ann, I will second what Orchids said. Silk developed the exact same problem at age 8. The glucosamine was a tremendous help for years. Sadly, it no longer helps her. I have a bunch left - I had just purchased 3 or 4 months worth (online) - e-mail me with your mailing address and I'll ship it to you. Better to see it used for Ferret than thrown away.

Truth, I think I am only days away from having to make a decision about putting Silk down. Probably I should be making the decision now, but I am so reluctant.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:56PM
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Jody, I know how hard that decision is and it becomes a quality of life balancing act. I have a 15.5 yo cat that I think we will have to make a decision on in the next year, but she has been proving me and the vet wrong for years. She has multiple health issues now but we tend to have a low point every 9-12 months where we think we are going to lose her and then she rebounds. This past May/June was bad but now she's back to her old self, but her health issues are getting closer together. Good Luck with your decision. Ann wishing Ferret the best outcome for the coming year!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 2:50PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Thank you all for the suggestions. Ferrett (who is our bestest cat) gets max health care and is now taking Cosequin (the ingredients are Glucosamine and Chondroitin) so Jody, you'll have mail. The new drug is somthing that's only recently been approved for cats (dogs have been getting it for some time) it's a non-steroidal anti-inflamatory; twice a week and it should start being effective in a week and a half.
I guess X-rays are good because we can non-invasively see what the problem is, but dang, those two ball and socket joints were bad.
Kate, I giggled at your comment about this being a cat who tolerates water. At the Vets office yesterday I was muttering about sewing her a wet suit (yes, Project Runway is on). A friend in NOLA has a Katrina dog, mini dachshund and has wading pool parties for the dachshund play group. I can just see putting our aging cat population in custom fitted wet suits for their daily exercise....

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 4:42PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I'm getting PT for Teddy my Samoyed since his back surgery. He walks in a water tank on a treadmill. the resistance of the water radically improves range of motion and muscle strength. The other day there was a cat in the tank, walking along. The look on the cat's face was priceless, but the owner said it has made all the difference. The cat was not wearing a wetsuit.

Samoyeds like water about as much as cats do, but it has helped him a lot.

Here he is with the therapist in the tank.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 7:20AM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

My dog, Freddy has an elbow joint problem called elbow dysplasia. It is like hip dysplasia only the elbow joint. I have had him on supplements from 'Springtime, Inc.' since he was a pup. They are great and he rarely limps anymore, only after rough play. Also, his fur is so shiny and soft he looks like black velvet. He takes "Joint Health and Fresh Factors. They have supplements for dogs, horses and people. I take their people joint healt supplement also. I would highly recommend them. I'm sorry they don't have anything for cats. Here is a link

Here is a link that might be useful: Springtime, Inc.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 1:27PM
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michelle_co(z5 CO)


I hope you will follow-up if anything helps. Our 9 y.o. Yahoo (Ridgeback (canine)) is just starting to show soreness/stiffness in her shoulder. She's been on oral glucosamine for 3 years, we are going to try the injected type (Legend?).

Best of luck with your Ferret (cute name for a cat :-)).


    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 3:03PM
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My golden has been showing more and more signs of arthritis in her hips. She's was starting to have trouble going up and down stairs. I started her on a natural supplement made from elk antler and herbs, it was pert of a clinical trial here in MN for Wapiti Labs. She improved so much, I had to keep giving it to her. It's called Mobility Formula and is on their website at Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 4:55PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Goodness, this has been going on for two years.
Ferrett is still chugging along, with a bit more loss of control over her front paws. But she's happy and goes about chasing her sunbeams and verbally and full-tail-alert protecting her territory.
My latest is realizing that my fingers have become surrogate cat's paws for morning feline face grooming. Yes, I hold two fingers steady and she rubs on them, then licks them, then rubs her face on them and repeats as necessary.
What can I say? She's a good cat.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:37PM
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adopt_greyhounds(Zone 4b)

Is she on Metacam? My old alley cat rescue has spondolsis (fused vertebrae) and he was on and off metacam for pain. He was also on cosequin which helped and a vitamin (hi-vite drops). He responded well and I only had to dose the metacam (an NSAID) once weekly. I worked for a speciality vet clinic in surgery and emergency and this was the protocol they suggested.

Metacam is the only NSAID approved for cats. Duralactin is not an NSAID but a supplement and has worked wonders for my greyhound with an old fracture that was left untreated at her greyhound breeding kennel (!) before an adoption group snatched her. She responded to that almost immediately. They do have a cat product too, a paste in a tube or a liquid.

Good luck! Please update!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 10:31AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Teddy took Metacam for his ankles. It made things a little easier for him. Teddy is at the Rainbow Bridge now.

Hoover takes Cosequin and Rimadyl. It has helped him a lot. He can hardly walk without it. He's only about 12, but he had a brutal life before he joined our pack, and it aged him.

May Ferrett chase sunbeams for many more years!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 2:20AM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Thank you all.
Ferrett (short for Ferret Faced Feline to distinguish her from her sister who was more brindle) has been on Metacam and Cosequin.
When Taffy cat catches more mice than she can eat (come on spring) she brings them in. Then DH chases the mouse towards Ferrett, who catches and eats them. There's something in mice that also helps her mobility.
Ferrett's sister (probably full sister) shows no symptoms; the sister (originally called Hot Lips, now has earned name Grumpuss)(she is the world's furriest Klingon, she growls before she goes around a corner, just to let other cats know she's coming)
used to finish the cans of high fat catfood that were necessary for my almost twentysomething great cat. The fat accumulated on Hot Lips who's never lost it, but far Grumpuss is still very mobile.
I've downloaded a lot on feline osteoarthritis at the ag-vet library. Depressing reading.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 10:44AM
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