Hip dysplasia is an inherited trait involving multiple gene pairs - it is not congenital (meaning an animal is not born with it). The condition develops over time from instability in the hip joint which results from an improper fit of the femoral head (ball-like structure) into the acetabalum (hip socket). This instability, called hip joint laxity, results in abnormal weight bearing within the hip joint. From this, secondary changes and remodeling occur in an effort to stabilize the joint or avoid bone-on-bone contact. When cartilage disintegrates from abnormal wear, the femoral head and acetabalum rub together with every step causing pain and eventual osteoarthritis.
Parts of the hip include:
2. Femoral Head (ball like structure)
3. Acetabalum (hip socket)
What are the Symptoms of Feline Hip Dysplasia?
It has been suggested that cats with Feline Hip Dysplasia (FHD) are not in pain. Well, unless you can talk directly to your cat, and he can answer you, how can you know for sure? Cats are rather stoic creatures and it is speculated that they hide or mask their pain well. Out in the wild if a cat showed pain by limping or moving slowly, he would appear vulnerable and be an immediate target for predators. Our domestic cats are still driven by natural instincts that tell them NOT to limp or not to move too slowly. There may be a gradual decrease in certain movements or particular activities that cause pain. For example, a cat in pain may not jump as high as usual, or it may move more and more slowly over time. These may be symptoms that most people simply would not notice or would attribute to other things. The gradual lack of movement may go undetected until one day - perhaps years from the onset of pain - the disease has progressed so that it becomes quite obvious with limping, not climbing, not jumping or the inability to go up stairs. Even then, because onset has been so gradual and there was not a drastic change in behavior from one day to the next, some people may still not realize there is a problem. (1)
Recommended Treatments for Feline Hip Dysplasia
More progressive veterinarians who are knowledgeable about recent studies, clinical trials, and overwhelmingly positive patient response, will know that glucosamine is very beneficial for hip dysplasia.
Glucosamine is an over-the-counter dietary supplement that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and joint pain in both pets and humans. Glucosamine stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans (GAG's), important proteins found in cartilage and proteoglycans, the water holding molecules that make up the cartilage.
Used in the correct form and quality, glucosamine has been shown to not only ease pain, but also assist in the rehabilitation of damaged cartilage. Furthermore, glucosamine is safe to use and does not have any of the side effects associated with NSAIDs.
How To Select A Glucosamine Product
Glucosamine products differ greatly. While one may work wonders for your pet, another may do absolutely nothing. Your selection of a glucosamine product should be based on four factors.
You must consider the quality of glucosamine, method of delivery to body, additional ingredients in the product, and of course price.
Simply put, the higher quality of glucosamine you use, the greater the relief to your pet. Many companies use medium grade glucosamine so you must be careful to look for the highest quality. Pharmaceutical quality glucosamine is the highest quality of glucosamine. You should only consider products that use glucosamine which is pharmaceutical quality.
Secondly, the method of delivery can make the difference between no pain relief and complete pain relief. After the breakthrough news of the 1999 The Lancet medical journal glucosamine study, glucosamine products were rushed to the market. In this haste, these companies did not take any time to do tests on their products. They simply assumed pill form would be the most effective. The latest research, however, has shown that glucosamine in liquid form is much more effective. In selecting a glucosamine product, you should look for one that is liquid form.
Also crucial to the effectiveness of the product is the other ingredients that are included in the product. Glucosamine alone, for most people, is not a cure all. Simply put, there is no cure. To receive maximum relief, you need to look for products that combine a number of arthritis fighting ingredients. You should look for a product that besides glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine HCL, also contains arthritis-fighting ingredients such as chondroitin, boswellin, bromelain, omega 3 & 6, yucca, manganese ascorbate, and vitamins A, C, and E.
1. FHDA: The Feline Hip Dysplasia Association