Degenerative joint disease, also referred to as osteoarthritis, is the main cause of chronic pain in felines. The condition is caused by long-term stresses and instability of the joint. Damage occurs naturally or as a result of an injury. When degeneration of the joint cannot be reversed, preventing further deterioration becomes the focus. Veterinarians often use an injectable arthritis treatment such as Adequan to relieve joint pain. Adequan may impede further joint degeneration as it is made from polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, which is also a component of joint cartilage.
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Arthritis is inflammation of the joint. The joint consists of articulating bone, a fibrous capsule enclosing the joint and lubricating fluid. The fluid ensures the two bones will easily glide across each other when the joint flexes. The bones are covered with fluid-filled cartilage, which cushions the joint and promotes frictionless gliding. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage wears down or is damaged. The bones then rub together leading to pain, inflammation and restricted movement. Osteoarthritis, commonly seen in cats, primarily occurs as the animal ages.
Cats with arthritis may show very subtle signs. Conditions that develop gradually are even more difficult to recognise. Reduction in activity may indicate pain caused by arthritis. The cat may cease jumping to a favourite spot and over time, or display an inability to climb stairs. Stiffness after rising from sleep or a nap may be evidence of feline arthritis. Limping or favouring a limb is another symptom of joint pain.
Adequan is an injectable arthritis treatment that stimulates cartilage repair. It restricts harmful enzymes that add to joint destruction. Adequan effectively increases joint lubrication and mobility as well. When injected into the body, the active ingredient, polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, is distributed to all joints requiring cartilage repair. A decrease in inflammation and an increase in joint fluid production work to ease pain, impede further damage and facilitate repair.
Initially, cats with arthritis are given injections twice a week for four consecutive weeks. This is considered a loading dose. A maximum of eight injections is given intramuscularly. Because intramuscular injections are painful for some cats, some choose to give the injection subcutaneously (under the skin). These injections are then reduced to once-a-month administration.
Label And Administration
Adequan is labelled for use in dogs and horses. It has been used off label under veterinarian supervision in cats and rabbits. It is to be administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously at home or intra-articularly (in the joint) by a licensed veterinarian. Do not mix with other drugs. If a dose is missed, give it as soon as possible. If it is close to giving the next dose, skip the missed one and give the next dose. Do not give two doses at once.
Side effects are rare. Intra-articular injections may cause temporary joint pain, swelling and lameness. Rarely, joint infection may occur. An allergic reaction may cause facial swelling, hives, scratching, diarrhoea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs or coma. If any of these signs are observed, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not use in breeding, pregnant or lactating animals.
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