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Are joint medications safe for cats?
There are about 12 million cats in the U.S. with arthritis, which means about 20 percent of all cats get this painful joint condition that can severely limit their quality of life. When dogs get arthritis, vets often prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) pet drugs like Previcox or Metacam to reduce the swelling that makes the joints so painful. However, NSAIDs are not safe to feed to cats. What is an owner to do for their fluffy companion?
Chondoprotectives, or cartilage-protecting pet products, are one of the safest and most effective ways to treat arthritis in cats. Look for joint supplements that have chondroitin and glucosamine for dogs and cats. These are components of normal, healthy cartilage that work to keep the cartilage hydrated. The more hydrated the cartilage is, the better able it is to cushion the bones at the joint – whether that joint is the cat's knee, hip, shoulder or something else.
Dasuquin is a good choice of joint supplements for cats and dogs, but there are others, like Cosequin for Cats, that are made specifically with felines in mind. This joint supplement has been rated the number one veterinarian-recommended joint health supplement brand, and also supports bladder health in cats. In addition to glucosamine, this supplement contains a chondroitin supplement that has a low molecular weight, making it easier for the cat's digestive system to absorb. The capsule may be difficult to get your cat to swallow, but you can open it up and sprinkle the tuna and chicken-flavored medicine on the feline's pet food.
Other nutritional options
Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breaking down, drying out or chipping away of the cartilage that is supposed to cushion the joints. When there is no cartilage, the bones rub together, causing inflammation. The inflammation is one of the worst parts of arthritis, causing your cat extreme pain. That is why certain nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties can help arthritis pain. Consider giving your cat an omega-3 fatty acid supplement like Super Pure Omega 3 or Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet. In addition to healthy joints, you'll help your cat's skin, coat, brain and other vital organs.
Investing in pet products like a Heated Cat Pad may soothe achey joints when your cat is lying on the couch, while dog steps can help the cat get up and down from these high places without strain.