Spondylosis in cats: what is it?

If cats become more passive and incontinent and no longer care for themselves, this can indicate spondylosis, an incurable stiffening of the spine. You can find out what this is all about, what symptoms the disease has and how it is treated here. Spondylosis can also affect young cats - Image: Shutterstock / MR.WICHAI THONGTAPE

Musculoskeletal disorders are not only painful for cats, but can have a serious impact on animal health. This is the case, for example, with spondylosis, the stiffening of the spine.

How does spondylosis develop in cats?

Spondylosis is a degenerative change in the spine. This creates bony excesses over the intervertebral discs. These connect the individual vertebrae like small bridges, causing the cat's spine to lose elasticity.

What are the symptoms of spondylosis?

The more vertebrae affected by spondylosis, the stiffer the cat. Movements are extremely difficult for animals suffering from this disease. The vertebral ossifications press on nerve regions. Getting up, lying down, jumping up and climbing stairs is hardly possible without pain.

For this reason, affected cats usually show reduced activity - even dropping and urination are suddenly painful for the animals. Incontinence is another symptom of spondylosis, as is a lack of grooming. The four-legged friends find the necessary back dislocations difficult.

The social behavior of the cat is also affected by the spondylosis. The constant pain stresses the animal. Touches and social contacts feel uncomfortable. The result: the cat withdraws.

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Which cats are affected by spondylosis?

Spondylosis is usually a sign of aging. But joint disease can also occur in young cats - for example, as a result of a fall or an accident. In addition to age, being overweight is another risk factor, since it affects the spine over a longer period of time.

How is spondylosis treated in cats?

Spondylosis is incurable. It is all the more important to improve the quality of life of the cat and to compensate for the limitations associated with the disease, such as loss of mobility.

Spondylosis is usually treated with pain relievers. In the case of overweight cats, there is also a diet to keep the strain on the back as low as possible. Physiotherapy and acupuncture can also help. They promote the mobility of the four-legged friend.

In any case, if you notice the first symptoms of spondylosis in your animal, you should not hesitate to see a veterinarian. He will be able to help your cat.

How can you prevent spondylosis in cats?

Dietary supplements that contain mussel extracts are said to be helpful against spondylosis in cats. You can easily add these to the feed. Apart from that, heat and red light treatments and massages also help to relax the back muscles of cats and prevent spondylosis.

The best preventive measure, however, is x-rays. Often, however, the veterinarian only diagnoses spondylosis during examinations that are not aimed directly at spinal stiffening. However, if spondylosis is diagnosed at an early stage, the course of the disease can be slowed down using the measures described above.

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