Osteoarthritis pain (or OA) is a type of arthritis that occurs when the protective cartilage in joints wears down, causing bones to rub against one another. OA typically occurs in the elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, and spine, and it can seriously slow your cat down and can cause life-altering pain. Sadly, once that cartilage starts to deteriorate, a vicious cycle of inflammation and pain occurs. OA is not just an elderly cat problem either, it can start in cats as young as age 2! OA exists in almost 40% of all cats, and in almost 90% of cats over the age of 12.
Here are some signs of OA to look out for:
OA often goes under-diagnosed in cats because of their ability to hide the signs of the disease so well. The signs of OA are often attributed to “slowing down” or “showing their age”, but it could be your cat’s way of telling you they are in pain and need a little help! This is exactly what happened to Dr. Shea and her kitties - Sherlock (19 yrs old) and Elementary (18 yrs old).
Dr. Shea noticed that Sherlock and Elementary had been “slowing down” for many years. They weren’t jumping up to their favorite perches and reluctant to jump down if they did get up there. They weren’t playing with toys, darting up the stairs, or running around the house like they used to. They were even having difficulty posturing in the litter box for their elimination habits. After careful observation and assessment with radiographs, Dr. Shea diagnosed her own cats with osteoarthritis pain.
After much research, Dr. Shea decided to give a newer medication called Solensia a try. Solensia is a monoclonal antibody and it works by lessening pain signals in your cat’s body. It does this by targeting and attaching to a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is one of the drivers of OA pain and has been found in higher levels in arthritic joints. Although it’s not a cure for osteoarthritis, Solensia might help your furry friend move around easier and improve their quality of life. As a biologic (a protein, not a chemical), Solensia functions very much like naturally occurring antibodies from our immune system, with minimal impact on the liver, kidneys, or gastrointestinal tract. It is the first and ONLY treatment of its kind to help control OA in cats that’s approved by the FDA.
Within 2 weeks of their first Solensia injection, Dr. Shea and her husband, Phil, noticed dramatic improvement in Sherlock and Elementary’s movement, significant decrease in limping, and an overall improvement in their quality of life! Her husband noted Solensia added years back to their life!
We are so happy to have Solensia available to all our patients at TLC Cat Clinic! If you would like to have your cat assessed for OA or would like to learn more about how Solensia can help your feline family, make an appointment today!
Our resident clinic cat, Angel, also had success with Solensia - see her journey for yourself in the video below!