Hip dysplasia in cats - care and treatment
April 3, 2017 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Sir Kanoko of Floof the Maine Coon turns nine this year, and has been getting noticeably stiffer in his hind legs. While he might "just" have arthritis, I'd like to know more about hip dysplasia in cats so I can be prepared at the vet this weekend.

I grew up with a purebred Golden Retriever my parents bought when she was a puppy. She ended up diagnosed with hip dysplasia at age 8 and went steadily downhill from there. My Coon cat, Kanoko is now showing similar signs: increasingly skinny back end, licking his haunches a lot, and general stiffness – he doesn't jump as much or as well. He does bounce around using his hind legs as a single unit, and he gets plenty of exercise.

Note: he's probably not a purebreed Maine Coon, but might be. I mention it because the breed's known for hip dysplasia. He had been abandoned at just over 2 months old; the first vet I took him to was a huge fan of Maine Coons and knew all the licensed breeders in the area. Kanoko didn't resemble any of their cats in coat pattern. However, vet confirmed that he has the breed traits. One of the breeders I knew also confirmed.

We're going to the vet this weekend, and while I know it could "just" be arthritis, I'd like to be prepared in case something like surgery is suggested. I've seen that there can be behavioral and medical options (glucosamine), but there also seem to be a few different surgery options. The one that seems most promising is femoral head ostectomy: I'd especially like to know if it's as realistic as it sounds? Kanoko is still pretty active so if it does indeed restore mobility and solves the grinding pain, I would opt for that if x-rays show it's the best option. I really don't want him to go through the years of debilitating pain our poor Golden Retriever suffered. Otherwise, the vet I'm going to is a behavioral specialist, so that's a plus too – if new exercises etc. could help, that would be wonderful.
posted by fraula to Pets & Animals (1 answer total)
Best answer: Hi, I can't speak to hip dysplasia in cats but we have had awesome results with our 13 y/o cat. He was starting to experience similar stiffness in his hind legs and noticably lagging going up and down stairs several years back.

We started giving him sprinkled chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride a couple of days a week in his meals. This had a really significant immediate effect and the stiffness disappeared (this is the stuff we got)

Then (and here's where we go crazy cat people on you) we switched our cats to raw homemade food last spring. It was truly transformative. Our vet said "It is like they're kittens again". They don't just walk, they bound and bounce all over the house. Rather than having a a senior citizen cat, we have a cat who acts like he's four. We now spend 60 minutes every four weeks making several pounds of raw cat food which we then freeze and serve to our cats. If you don't have the time to deal with making it yourself, you can get it at a premium price from RadCat (and boy, that stuff is filled with kitty crack or something because it makes them go nuts). If anyone's interested, send me a message for the recipe.
posted by arnicae at 12:08 AM on April 4, 2017

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