Until recently, it was thought that cats were not affected by hip dysplasia. However, it is now known that this common health condition found in dogs affects cats as well. While no cat is immune to this condition, it is more often found in heavy-boned breeds such as the Persian and Maine Coon.
Hip dysplasia is the abnormal growth or development of the hips – basically, a poor fit of the ball-and-socket hip joint. It is likely an inherited disorder, which is not obvious at birth, but develops as the kitten grows.
|Maine Coon Cat|
Many cats with hip dysplasia go undetected. Even though this condition develops early, many cats don’t have pain associated with the condition until they are in adulthood, after they have been walking on their poorly formed hips for many years. So some cats can show signs before seven months of age, while others do not show it until well into adulthood. Also, due to their small size and the fact that cats are not exercised as much as dogs, they may have the condition and still function normally. But some cats, especially the more severely affected or those that are overweight, will have obvious symptoms and experience pain. Symptoms include stiffness when walking, reluctance to jump and climb, or lameness.
Hip dysplasia is diagnosed by a veterinarian by looking at x-rays of the hip joints. They may also be able to feel looseness in the joint. Typically, results of a hip dysplasia test are very straight forward.
There are varying degrees of hip dysplasia, and each case must be treated on its own merits. While there is no complete cure, there are a range of treatment options that alleviate the clinical signs. Non-surgical interventions include weight control, exercise control, and medication. If these three elements fail to maintain an adequate quality of life, surgical options are available.
Total costs for treatment can be anywhere from $2,000 to over $7,000. This includes pre-surgical x-rays, anesthesia and monitoring, epidural, surgery, post-operative x-rays, and medications.
Trupanion only offers hip dysplasia coverage if you enroll your kitten before its first birthday, when the condition is likely to develop.
Has your cat suffered from hip dysplasia? If so, did you opt for treatment?
Heather Reynolds is a pet lover and internet journalist at Trupanion, a pet insurance company. Feel free to contact her with any questions related to pet insurance at email@example.com.