Hours Of Operation:

Monday: 8am to 7pm
Tuesday: 8am to 5:30pm
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: 8am to 7pm
Friday: 8am to 4pm
Saturday: 8am to 12pm

*Please call head,
hours may vary.

Feline Lameness

Feline Lameness The term lameness can be applied to an animal incapable of normal locomotion (including walking, jumping, running) sometimes marked by pain or rigidness. The cause of lameness in cats can be due to primary injuries (bone fractures, ligament injury, bite wounds), congenital or developmental disorders, osteoarthritis or nerve damage. Lameness can be sudden in onset or slowly progressive. When our feline friends are uncomfortable, clinical signs can be subtle or obvious. As veterinarians, we depend on our clients to be the observers and the reporters. It is then our role to help interpret the behaviors and offer assistance and treatment. Signs of pain include vocalization (more or less than normal), a stiff posture, less activity (reluctance to move, jump or climb), decreased interaction or reluctance to be touched, and decreased appetite.

Pain control

Pain management options range from surgical therapy to medical therapy to adjunctive therapy (i.e. acupuncture, chiropractic, rehabilitation/physical therapy). The focus of this information is on medical and alternative/adjunct treatments.

  • Opioid pain medications(including buprenorphine, butorphanol, and tramadol) are often used for acute pain but also have a role in chronic pain management. These medications target specific pain receptors within the body and can be given in oral or injectable forms.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID) are used in a wide range of circumstances for their pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. These medications can also be given in oral or injectable forms. Caution needs to be exhibited with NSAIDs due to the potential for undesirable effects on the kidneys, liver or lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Chondroprotectants (drugs designed to protect the joint cartilage) are utilized more for chronic joint disease or for animals at risk for developing arthritis. These medications are meant to improve and promote cartilage health and slow the progression of cartilage degradation in an unhealthy joint. They include products that contain glycosaminoglycans, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These medications are also given in oral or injectable forms.
  • Important complementary treatment options also included acupuncture, chiropractic care and physical therapy. The goal is to keep the patient comfortable while working towards a return to normal function/activity level.


Our feline patients are living longer lives due to improved preventative medicine, diagnostics and wider treatment options. However, along with age come more medical concerns to manage. One of those concerns includes arthritis or general discomfort with daily activities. Osteoarthritis or arthritis is a degenerative and progressive condition associated with the loss of cartilage in moveable joints. The development of arthritis can be multifactorial but commonly results secondary to a previous injury and subsequent joint instability, obesity, or congenital and developmental abnormalities. Cats with arthritis may have decreased appetite, weight loss, fail to groom, reluctant to jump or move about, overt lameness or new house-soiling accidents. Arthritis can be suspected based on observations by the owner and palpation on physical exam. Radiographs (x-rays) can be used to better define the degree of arthritis in a joint but early disease may not show dramatic changes on the x-rays. The importance of working together with your veterinarian cannot be overemphasized to help diagnose the cause of your cat’s discomfort and to obtain appropriate treatment. The pain management options as described above apply to feline patients with arthritis. In older felines it is especially important to consider other concurrent disease processes and medications. A physical exam and labwork are critical before developing a treatment plan. In addition the benefits and risks must be weighed and discussed with your veterinarian to determine what is appropriate for your cat. Once care is initiated for your cat it is also important to receive follow-up care and rechecks to ensure the patient is responding and tolerating the medication.

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