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Managing Chronic Pain in Osteoarthritic Cats

Osteoarthritis is fairly common in older cats, whose jots eventually undergo the same degenerative process that people’s joints do. Feline osteoarthritis is hard to diagnose, however, if the cat doesn't show overt symptoms, like lameness. This painful and progressive condition can result in a range of symptoms, the worst of which is chronic pain. This is important because unalleviated chronic pain presents a welfare concern and limits a cat's ability to function. Pain may also contribute to behavior problems that can damage the human–animal bond, resulting in euthanasia or pet surrender to an animal shelter. Validated evaluation scales have been reported only for acute or surgical feline pain, which differs in its expression from chronic pain. This study will produce validated pain scales for identifying and quantifying pain caused by osteoarthritis. The data collected in this study would contribute to veterinarians’ abilities to manage pain effectively using these scales.

Dr. Mary Klinck, University of Montreal, Pfizer Animal Health–Morris Animal Foundation Fellowship