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Arthritis and acupuncture

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello all!

I am on the verge of getting acupuncture treatments for my 18 year old cat. He has severe arthritis in his back, hips and legs. He sits weird, groans when he lays down (because of the pressure it puts on his front legs to get down) and kind of bobbles when he walks (which he avoids doing). He can still get up and down stairs but I try to lift him up every chance I get. I know it's not best because he needs to keep walking, but I know it hurts him and I'm nervous about him falling if his legs give out. He has gone outside all his life and still does this. He is a very unhappy kitty if he doesn't go outside, and I keep a close eye on him because I hate him being out there. He's very smart and knows staying on our back porch/nearby is best.

 

He won't take any pain medicine. We've tried several: Gabapentin, which made him constipated more than he is from getting older. Another capsule that he refused to take when we mixed it with anything. We got this one compounded and he had an awful reaction to it and was drooling everywhere. He doesn't enjoy fish oil but I try to sneak it in his food every once in awhile. Metacam is out of the question - it sent him through kidney failure.

 

I'm thinking about compounding a medicine to taste like chicken, but I'm not sure he'll take it even that way. He hates all medicine. I also don't like how he acts when he's on it. His eye become super dilated and he lays around and behaves as though he's high. I don't want to prolong his life with pain meds if it's going to make him feel/act weird. I don't see the quality of life there.

 

My question is - how much does acupuncture help cats? Specifically, older ones with severe arthritis? It's an expensive procedure and I will have to rework my work schedule to get him to the appointments, but I am willing to do anything to get him out of this pain. I'm looking into house calls right now. Will this just stress him out more than he should be? Does it really work for older cats?

 

Thank you!

post #2 of 6

I honestly can't say for extremely severe arthritis, but many years ago a vet did electroacupuncture on a cat of mine with moderate arthritis when she was 16 and it helped her tremendously.  She had bone spurs in her spine and was having trouble getting up onto things.  She was a really timid cat, and yet she relaxed completely and purred during the sessions, and after the first session when I took her home she started playfully chasing her tail, which she hadn't done for a long time.  I started finding her on windowsills again, instead of on the floor.  It was impressive, because I'd been really skeptical about it.  I had to stop after a while because of the cost, but the effects lasted past the time I stopped. 

 

I hope you're able to find a solution for your cat :)

post #3 of 6
I don't have any experience with arthritis in cats or acupuncture. I just wanted to say, I'd go ahead and try it. smile.gif Natural treatments are always worth a try.
post #4 of 6
We work with a holistic vet. She treated our VERY sick, FIV+ feral rescue, Chumley, with Chinese meds when conventional medicine wasn't able to help him. We've worked with her for almost two years now, and our little Flowerbelle was just diagnosed with early asthma and arthritis in her hip. She also has high blood pressure.

I have searched and searched for treatments for her arthritis (which isn't apparently causing her pain yet - but she's only 9). Have you talked to the vet about giving him a combination of chrondroitin and glucosamine? The studies show it doesn't help, but vets have seen it work. If you add hyaluronic acid to that (sounds scary, but this is the stuff: http://www.drpasswater.com/nutrition_library/Sardi.html. Basically, it is the lubrication in the joints. Anyway, it apparently makes both even MORE effective (and some people use solely hyaluronic acid for arthritis).

A holistic vet should be able to provide advice on these. agree.gif

Anyway, our vet practices acupuncture, and she said it's the thing she thinks would help Flowerbelle the most. Now - acupuncture won't stop the progression of the disease, it provides comfort. So in our opinion, Flowerbelle doesn't need it yet, because she's running and jumping around here like a nut. But if she ever gets to the point that her movement is restricted, we'll be off to acupuncture treatments. agree.gif Our vet says they REALLY help. I've had acupuncture - not for arthritis - but it fixed me up. So I think it's worth pursuing.

Vibes for you and your boy! vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #5 of 6
doh3.gif I forgot to mention Omega 3. Its anti-inflammatory properties can be very helpful in reducing the pain from arthritis. I give my cats salmon oil - krill oil can be used. But I buy a good quality (important) 1,000mg salmon oil supplement. I pierce the capsule, and put 3-4 drops of it on each meal (I feed three meals a day).
post #6 of 6

I found acupuncture has helped my 19 yr old quite a bit. Does it make him run around like a kitten again? No. But he's still going up and down stairs several times a day and can jump up on the bed even though he has pet steps for him to use if he needs them. He also goes for regular osteopathy treatments, which he really quite enjoys (he tolerates the acupuncture but tends to get a bit antsy after 10-15 minutes). There is also something called aquapuncture, which is the injection of a liquid (typically vit b12; my vet also adds Traumeel) at the acupuncture points. The liquid continues to stimulate these points long after the needle comes out. This can be a better option if your cat won't sit still for the 20 mins or so that the acupuncture requires. 

 

What about Adequan injections? These have really been beneficial for my guy, and even though a vial is pretty pricey, it lasts a long time and is ultimately way cheaper than acupuncture. You can also give the injections yourself at home, which eliminates having to drag kitty to the vet every month. 

 

There is also a supplement called Cetyl Myristoleate that is supposed to help difficult cases of arthritis. I haven't tried it yet so can't comment, but I'm intrigued.

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