Degenerative joint disease or DJD is a painful condition that can affect any breed of cat particularly as they reach their senior years. It is a progressive, long-term disease that negatively impacts the cartilage found in a cat's joints and it's a condition that's often referred to as osteoarthritis which describes chronic inflammation of the joints due to the deterioration of the cartilage that’s found in a joint.
When a cat starts to develop degenerative joint disease, there are specific signs of there being something wrong with them which could include the following:
The reason why cats suddenly start to develop primary degenerative joint disease remains a bit of a mystery. However, when the condition is secondary which in short means a cat suffers from it because of another health issue or injury, the causes could be as a result of them suffering from the following:
A vet would ideally need to know a cat's full medical history and their ancestry too. They would also need to know how the onset of any symptoms first manifested themselves which all helps when confirming a diagnosis. The vet would thoroughly examine a cat which would establish the following:
Once a cat has been diagnosed with DJD, a vet would want to control the symptoms because there is no cure for the condition. With this said, in some cases a vet might recommend surgery which could help alleviate any pain and it could slow the progression of the disease down. When surgery is involved this could include the following procedures:
Heating pads and cold therapy have also proved to be beneficial when it comes to making life more comfortable for cats suffering from degenerative joint disease. Cats would also need to be prescribed long-term medication which would help control swelling and pain.
Sadly, degenerative joint disease is a progressive disorder which in short means that as cats get older their condition gradually gets worse. As such, they would need to be regularly seen by a vet who would reassess their condition and adjust their treatment as necessary. It is also important to limit a cat's activity so that it does not aggravate their symptoms or increase any pain they may be experiencing. Diet also plays a key role in controlling the disorder and cats should be fed a diet that includes a lot of omega fatty acids.