Hip dysplasia is a condition in cats that causes their hip joints to develop abnormally. Though fairly uncommon, this disease tends to affect cats that are purebred or heavy boned, though it can still occur in small boned cats. It is also far more likely to be found in female, rather than male, cats. The abnormality in hip joint development results in dislocation of the hip ball and socket—limiting movement and causing bone deterioration. This can make even the lightest form of activity extremely painful for your feline friend, which in turn will severely lower his quality of life. Cats love to climb. They love to explore, to move, to play. Hip dysplasia can put a huge damper on their ability to accomplish their favorite goals and will only get worse if not treated. The following will be a helpful guide as to the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Hip Dysplasia, so you can identify the signs in your cat.
Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Cats
The causes of feline hip dysplasia have been found to the result of both environmental and genetic factors. Genetic inheritance is the most common cause of hip dysplasia, though this does not necessarily mean that the disorder will be passed on from a single parent. It has been found that both parents must carry a set of specific genes in order to pass the disorder down. Though it is rare, the breeds most affected by the disorder are the larger cats of the Maine Coon and Persian variety. Another common cause is rapid weight gain or obesity that can put undue stress on the hip joint. It is thus important to monitor your cat’s weight gain and dietary habits in order to ensure this disorder does not rear its head. Other environmental factors include an increase or irregularity in pelvic muscle mass and over activity of the hips.
Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Cats
The symptoms of hip dysplasia depend entirely on how far along the disease has come. If your cat hasn’t been suffering long then the symptoms will be much lighter, to the point of being unnoticeable.
This is not necessarily a good thing as catching hip dysplasia early can be incredibly important to successfully treat the disease. The following are the symptoms you should look out for and that your poor cat will be suffering from:
- Joint looseness
- Decreased ability to remain active
- Slowed movement and reluctance to run, climb and jump
- Favoring of the front limbs and enlargement of the shoulder muscles as a result
- Lameness in the hind limbs, especially after exercise
Treatment of Hip Dysplasia in Cats
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from hip dysplasia then it is extremely important that you get him to his vet as soon as possible. Your vet will then physically examine your cat, take blood and urine samples and then take x rays. If surgery is not an option financially then you may wish to look into physiotherapy, which can relieve joint stiffness and build muscle. However, more often than not your cat will require surgery if they are suffering from advanced hip dysplasia. There are four different types of surgeries that are performed in order to treat the disease:
- Triple pelvic osteotomy surgery: performed on juvenile cats that are usually less than one year old, TPO surgery rotates the hip socket
- Juvenile pubic symphysiodesis surgery: used for cats under the age of six months, this surgery fuses the pelvis so that the stability of the hip joint is improved
- Total hip replacement: mostly only performed on mature cats that are struggling with advanced osteoarthritis
- Excision arthroplasty: the less costly alternative to total hip replacement, this surgery removes the hip joint entirely
Hip Dysplasia Prevention
Considering how uncommon hip dysplasia is in cats, if your feline is diagnosed with the disease then there may be a need to stop your cat’s parents from breeding with one another again. This will stop the disease from being passed down any further, saving future kittens from experiencing the hip pain and osteoarthritis that their ancestors suffered. Keeping your kitty from gaining excessive weight is also very important to ensuring hip health and dodging dysplasia. Besides, a healthy weighing cat is always a happier cat.