In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about hip dysplasia in cats. It may not happen very often, but it can have some unwanted consequences. It may not be common, and it is mostly a genetic problem, but it is important to learn a little about this particular disorder that affects how an animal walks. Today we will focus especially on hip dysplasia in cats, and how it affects them.
Table of Contents
What is hip dysplasia in cats?
This is a much more common condition in dogs than cats. What hip dysplasia does is basically that this part of their body develops unusually, and the joints around it will wear down over time.It is an inherited component of hip dysplasia in cats.
Maine coon and female cats are particularly vulnerable. In more severe cases, it can lead to the formation of bones in unusual places, damaged cartilage as a result of unnatural movements, arthritis due to lameness and paralyzing pain.
Hip dysplasia usually starts in cats when they are still kittens. In other words, it starts before their bone structure has fully developed, and it only gets worse as time goes on. Dislocation and damage to cartilage causes microfractures that prevent it from walking properly, climbing, jumping and playing.
What are the symptoms of hip dysplasia in cats?
A veterinarian will have to make the final diagnosis, but as the owner you also have a duty to be aware of the symptoms of hip dysplasia in your cat. Here are some of the most important:
1. It is less active
A cat that is less active is often just that because it is getting older. Nevertheless, most healthy cats will run, jump and climb trees, even if they are older. So if your cat has stopped playing or doing things it used to, you should take it to the vet.
Hip dysplasia is very painful for cats. A big danger signal is if it whines from being in a certain position or moving in a certain way. If you touch it in the lower back, it can meow loudly. It’s not necessarily because it does not like you patting it, it may be because it hurts.
Pay close attention to the “sounds” your cat makes when walking, sleeping or moving around. It is common to hear clicking sounds in the hips in cases of dysplasia. This will especially happen when your cat gets up after being inactive for several hours or lying in bed.
4. Wider shoulders
Another symptom of hip dysplasia in cats is that the front part of their body becomes larger or wider. Why is it happening? Because your cat has had to change the way it moves, it puts all its weight on the front end. Think of it as going to the gym and only exercising the upper half of your body.
5. Curved back
Related to this, hip dysplasia will also lead to changes in the cat’s spine. When it tries to keep all its weight on its front legs, it will bend its back to help it lean forward. You may notice that it barely uses its hind legs to move around. You will probably also notice that it is lame.
Treatment of hip dysplasia in cats
Because there are other disorders with similar symptoms, some cats do not always get the correct diagnosis. In many cases, only extreme lameness (on one or both sides of the body) acts as definitive evidence of hip dysplasia.Your veterinarian must look at your cat’s hip joints and take pelvic x-rays to identify the exact problem.
If your cat actually has hip dysplasia, there are some treatments to give it relief and slow down the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is still no cure.Some of these treatments include things like physiotherapy, restriction of certain activities, anti-inflammatory drugs (oral or injected) and weight monitoring. In more severe cases, it may need hip replacement surgery.