cbd oil for arthritis in cats

A Guide to CBD Oil for Cats with Arthritis

Have you recently noticed your cat limping? Has it become lethargic and unwilling to play? If so, your beloved feline might be suffering from arthritis, which is a common joint degenerative condition in cats.

Arthritis occurs when the joint fluid and cartilage protecting the bones of cats wear down, so the bones grind against each other. It causes insufferable pain in felines, which they hide as much as possible in order not to show weakness.

Besides the standard treatment methods of pain and weight control, cat owners are advised to give CBD oil a try. There is a variety of CBD oils for cats that ease stress and discomfort.

The following guide explains the role of CBD in felines with arthritis.


This degenerative joint disease might be caused by multiple factors affecting the knees, ankles, hips, and elbow joints in felines. The joint cartilage usually weakens due to wear and tear as these animals get older. Also, the cartilage surrounding the joints might sustain damage because of abnormal hip development.

Moreover, arthritis can be induced by a joint injury or fracture, as well as obesity. Even though obesity isn’t considered a genuine cause of this disease, it’s believed to worsen the condition. Genetics is also to blame for the development of arthritis, given some cat breeds are more susceptible to it. For instance, breeds like Scottish Fold, Maine Coon, Siamese, and Persian cats are at greater risk of developing the condition.

Although this degenerative disease may affect different parts of a feline’s body, the most commonly affected part is the legs, particularly the back legs. When it occurs in this part of the body, arthritis has a great effect on their mobility. Felines usually start limping and favoring one of their legs when walking. Unfortunately, this condition affects a large portion of the cat population older than six years, as many as sixty percent.


There’s a multitude of signs indicating osteoarthritis in felines that cat owners should watch out for. For instance, they exhibit behavioral signs like experiencing difficulty when jumping up on furniture, jumping down from furniture, chasing objects, running, going up and down the stairs, etc. Your cat will show reluctance to perform tasks that he/she previously had no trouble accomplishing, such as jumping on countertops and high areas.

Felines suffering from arthritis are likely to develop spinal issues, as arthritic pain might occur in various parts of the spine. Their necks might become sore, whereas their posture is abnormal. Also, your cat will probably be more lethargic and unwilling to play games or chase objects around the house.

Another sign of arthritis in felines is irritability, as arthritic pain makes cats snap when someone approaches them. Even if your intention is just to pet your companion, the manner in which you’re doing it might increase their pain. Check out some useful methods for telling if a cat is in pain.

Muscle atrophy is another symptom to beware of, given the muscle tissue of these creatures starts dying because of inactivity. Felines no longer use their muscles like before, which leads to a thinner look of their legs. Additionally, they have a tendency to bite, lick, or chew the areas of their bodies that cause pain. This habit might eventually result in hair loss and inflamed skin in the affected area.

Why is CBD oil the best treatment?

Innovetpet oil is touted as one of the best treatments in the fight against arthritis and chronic joint pain because of being a remarkable painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation is among the main symptoms of arthritis occurring when the joint cartilage wears down, failing to provide a cushion to the bones. Consequently, the bones start rubbing against each other, making the joint tender and inflamed.

Once CBD enters the body, it commences interaction with the ECS (Endocannabinoid system). This system is largely responsible for inducing anti-inflammatory responses. Cannabidiol is believed to trigger such responses by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors. The anti-inflammatory properties of this remedy are capable of reducing inflammation in different body parts, such as the stomach, brain, and intestines.

Furthermore, CBD oil helps felines by blocking the progression of arthritis and protecting their joints from serious damage caused by chronic inflammation. The role of cannabidiol as a painkiller is vital in the battle with this degenerative joint disease. CBD aids the alleviation of neuropathic and physical pain, which affects life quality. Follow this link, https://www.medicinenet.com/neuropathic_pain_nerve_pain/article.htm, to learn about the causes and risk factors for neuropathic pain.

Arthritic pain is not only neuropathic but also nociceptive. The former means it’s triggered by nerve damage, whereas the latter refers to pain caused by body tissue damage. CBD also regulates behavioral changes in felines like lethargy and irritability. As it has a boosting effect on mood, cannabidiol reduces irritability and increases energy levels in cats. Your feline companion won’t snap when you approach him/her and return to its usual activities.

Regarding application, CBD oil can be administered to felines either directly to their mouth or their skin. By putting a couple of drops into your pet’s mouth, cannabidiol will reach the bloodstream much faster and result in immediate pain relief. When used as topical, this remedy provides pain alleviation to a particular area.

Arthritis in Cats and Dogs

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common conditions of the joints that affects both dogs and cats. Up to a quarter of dogs may develop arthritis during their lifetime, and veterinarians believe it may be more prevalent in cats than previously thought. While the disease is most often found in senior pets, it can affect dogs and cats of all ages.

In This Article

Osteoarthritis causes changes to joint tissues, including loss of cartilage, thickening of joint capsules, and changes to the surrounding bone. In healthy joints, cartilage protects the bones from one other, but in arthritic joints, the loss of cartilage results in the bones rubbing against each other, causing pain and inflammation. It’s a degenerative disease, meaning it gets worse over time.

The joints usually affected in both cats and dogs are the elbow, ankle, knee, and hip. Understanding the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and preventative measures will help you keep your pet comfortable and active.

Signs & Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Cats and Dogs

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats and dogs may vary depending on the joint affected and the degree of degeneration, but often include:

Reluctance to exercise or play

Lameness or favoring one leg

Changes to stance or gait (such as a hunched appearance or “bunny hopping”)

Inability or reluctance to jump or climb stairs

Behavioral changes (including aggression)

Signs of pain, such as whimpering or flinching

Veterinarians suspect that osteoarthritis is underdiagnosed in cats, as the symptoms can be less obvious in felines than in canines. If your cat has osteoarthritis, you may notice stiffness or lameness, but in many cases the only signs are changes in activity levels and a reluctance to jump up or down.

Like cats, dogs with osteoarthritis may show lameness and stiffness, especially after periods of rest. After being up and about for a period of time, they may appear to ‘work out of it’ or loosen up, during the earlier stages of disease. Your dog might also exhibit a reluctance to exercise or play, and may no longer readily jump up or down from furniture or climb stairs.

Osteoarthritis is painful. Both cats and dogs may show behavioral changes and even aggression, especially when the affected joint is manipulated by the owner or veterinarian.

How Did My Dog or Cat Get Osteoarthritis?

Dogs and cats develop arthritis through several processes.

Common causes of arthritis include:

Age-associated wear and tear

Secondary to developmental orthopedic disease

Obesity and lack of exercise

The primary cause of osteoarthritis in cats is often not identifiable. Unfortunately, feline osteoarthritis is less understood than the disease is in dogs. However, primary problems with the joint itself, like an abnormal shape, injury to a joint or skeletal structure, and the wear and tear of daily life are the most probable causes of osteoarthritis in cats.

In dogs, while age and wear and tear are possible causes, most cases occur as a secondary condition to developmental orthopedic diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament disease, and kneecap dislocation (luxating patella). Large breed dogs are predisposed to these conditions, which unfortunately means they are also predisposed to developing osteoarthritis. Obesity, diet, and exercise can also play a role.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis in Dogs and Cats

Osteoarthritis in dogs and cats is diagnosed through a combination of clinical signs and diagnostics. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination, palpating limbs and joints to check for any pain responses, and will feel for thickening of joint capsules, muscle atrophy, or accumulation of joint fluid.

In addition to physical exam findings, your veterinarian may suggest radiographs (X-rays) to check for changes to bone structure, which can be useful for diagnosing primary causes. Radiographs only reveal limited information about changes to soft tissue, however, so your veterinarian may also recommend an MRI or CT scan, especially if other conditions are suspected. Arthritis in cats can be more challenging to diagnose, as their symptoms can be much more subtle.

Treating, Recovery and Management of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a disease that requires life-long management, and we recommend a ‘multi-modal’ approach, combining several different therapies and lifestyle changes, including:

Medical and/or surgical interventions

While it cannot be cured, many cases of arthritis can be effectively managed to minimize your pet’s pain and inflammation, slow the progression of the disease and help to maximize their quality of life during their remaining years.

Weight Management

Firstly, for both dogs and cats, veterinarians often recommend making adjustments to your pet’s diet and lifestyle that can improve their quality of life, beginning with appropriate weight management. If your pet is overweight or obese, this puts added pressure on their joints, so you should speak with your veterinarian about the best way to help them lose weight with diet and low-impact exercise.

Lifestyle Changes

You may also need to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate your pet’s reduced mobility and minimize their pain. Limit or avoid high impact activities like running or jumping, and replace them with leashed walks for dogs and quiet play time with cats. You should consider investing in home modifications such as ramps or small staircases to help your pet get to their favorite spots, and for dogs, in and out of the car. Smaller pets should be carried up and down stairs and lifted up and down from beds and couches.

Investing in a thick, therapeutic pet bed, such as the Petfusion memory foam bed, may provide additional comfort for your pet while they are resting. Arthritic cats should be fed on the floor, as opposed to on the counter, and you should avoid litter boxes that have a large step or require your cat to jump into them; look for a litter box with a low lip that’s easy to navigate.


Pain relieving medications are an important strategy in helping a pet remain mobile and maintaining a good quality of life. Your veterinarian may prescribe several different medications to help manage your pet’s discomfort. When diagnosed early, AdequanⓇ injections (a FDA-approved disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug), can be prescribed to help reduce the loss of protective cartilage in the joints. Other medications may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of pain/discomfort, the most common of which includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Other medications, like gabapentin, tramadol, amantadine, and acetaminophen may also be prescribed, along with cortisone injections.

As with most long-term use of medications, regular blood work should be performed to ensure your pets kidney and liver function is normal, as many of these drugs are processed by these vital organs and dose reductions or changes may be required in pets who suffer from decreased kidney or liver function.


There are a number of supplements that are useful for pets with arthritis, including omega fatty acids and glucosamine/chondroitin. Omega fatty acids (particularly, omega 3’s from wild-caught cod/salmon) have anti-inflammatory properties and have been proven to help decrease the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, and may also help to slow the progression of the disease. These can be administered in supplement form, or for larger dogs, a prescription joint diet such as Hills j/d may be more suitable (as they would require a large amount of supplements to reach the required dosage). Glucosamine/chondroitin can help with the pain of arthritis given over time.

It’s important to note that these nutriceuticals are not regulated by the FDA, therefore safety and efficacy can vary greatly amongst brands. At Small Door, we recommend the following brands, both for their excellent levels of quality control, in addition to appropriate levels of omega 3 concentrations:

Vetoquinol Triglyceride Omega (Can be purchased at Small Door Veterinary)

Surgical Interventions

In cases where osteoarthritis is secondary to a serious condition or injury such as a cranial cruciate ligament rupture, surgery is often the best course of treatment, helping to reduce the severity of arthritis progression in the future. As well as treating the underlying condition, in some cases, surgery may be able to remove some of the painful joint components, or even replace the joint entirely.

Rehabilitation and Alternative Therapies

Your veterinarian may refer you to an animal rehabilitation specialist for treatment to improve joint mobility, increase muscle mass, and improve exercise endurance. This is more commonly prescribed in dogs than cats. Rehabilitation may include specific exercises to help improve your pet’s range of motion, therapeutic exercises, aqua-therapy (underwater treadmill, swimming), massage, acupuncture, or LASER therapy, amongst others.

CBD oil has also been shown to help relieve pain in dogs suffering from arthritis, and can be a good addition to your dog’s treatment plan, if they do not have any contraindications. However, when it comes to cats, we do not recommend CBD. There is currently very limited research on the safety of CBD for cats, and they are a sensitive species who often have difficulty processing drugs that are safe in humans and dogs.

If you’re considering CBD products for your dog, again, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal, and there is no regulation or set quality control measures across the industry. ElleVet CBD products are heavily involved with leading veterinary research institutions studying the safety and efficacy of CBD in pets, and undergo rigorous quality control processes.

Is there a Cure for Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative joint condition. There is no cure for arthritis in dogs and cats. The disease will progress with time, but with management, many pets can live comfortably for years after diagnosis.

Is Osteoarthritis Contagious For Humans or Other Pets?

Osteoarthritis is not contagious for humans or other pets. However, if the suspected cause could be hereditary, such as a bone or joint abnormality, you should avoid breeding your pet.

What is the Cost for Treating Osteoarthritis?

The cost for treating osteoarthritis will vary widely depending on the cause and severity of the disease, as well as the proposed treatment plan. Cases where surgical correction is required to treat the underlying cause, like hip dysplasia, can cost many thousands of dollars. In other cases, expect to pay for medications and supplements, veterinary visits, any modifications for the home, like more comfortable beds or ramps, and any alternative therapies like acupuncture and laser treatments.

Preventing Osteoarthritis in Cats and Dogs

Osteoarthritis in cats and dogs is not always preventable, but there are things you can do to reduce your pet’s risk of developing the condition. Proper nutrition and exercise are important for development as well as life-long health, and can reduce the risk factors that lead to osteoarthritis.

Large breeds of dogs are particularly susceptible to the development of arthritis as they age, as are smaller breeds with luxating patellas, or joint deformities. If you have a large breed of puppy, you should ensure you feed them a diet specifically designed for large/giant breeds to promote slow bone growth. In addition, the early administration of the correct dose of omega fatty acids can help preserve joint health.

Knowing the early warning signs, like changes in activity levels, can help you catch arthritis early and slow the progression of the disease.

Is There a Vaccine for Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a joint condition and is not caused by a virus or bacteria, so there is no vaccine.

Summary of Osteoarthritis in Cats and Dogs

Osteoarthritis is a common, chronic condition in both cats and dogs. Understanding the symptoms, treatment options, and management strategies will help you keep your pet comfortable as they age. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, however, with the right care, you and your veterinarian can keep your pet active well into their senior years.

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Luxating Patellas in Dogs and Cats

Luxating patellas in dogs and cats are a common orthopedic condition that can cause lameness. Luxation occurs when the patella, or kneecap, slips in and out of the groove in the femur where it should normally reside. When this happens, you may notice changes to your pet’s gait, including lameness and signs of pain, however some cases can be asymptomatic. Depending on the grade of patella luxation and clinical symptoms, it is generally treatable with orthopedic surgery. Occasionally, a luxating patella can lead to other conditions, like torn cruciate ligaments, which is why it is important owners take the condition seriously and consult with their veterinarian.

Managing Obesity in Cats and Dogs

Weight management can be a big problem for pets. Approximately 60% of cats and 55% of dogs in the United States are either overweight or obese. Not only can this impact your pet’s quality of life, making it harder for them to enjoy walks and playtime, but it can also lead to medical issues such as diabetes, pancreatitis and arthritis. Read on to learn more about the risk factors for obesity in pets, and how you can help your pet lose weight safely, if needed.

CBD for Pets: Everything You Need to Know

The use of cannabidiol, or CBD, is well researched in human medicine. The benefits and effectiveness for animals is not as widely known, but there are a variety of ways that CBD could potentially help your pet.

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Whether you’re a new puppy mom or a seasoned dog dad, providing the right nutrition for your pet never gets easier. There’s a wealth of misinformation out there, from fad diets to false marketing and confusing pet food labels. We understand it’s hard to know who to trust. So we’ve prepared a one-stop resource on nutrition, with everything you need to know to make an informed decision about your dog’s diet.

Even as more and more people promote CBD for health and wellbeing in humans, research is expanding into the benefits of CBD for cats.

If you didn’t already know, cannabidiol (CBD) has many benefits for human conditions; what you may not know is that CBD can benefit your cat, as well. In people, CBD has been shown to be effective in pain relief, mood management, glaucoma, and a host of other conditions. Research has shown that cats can also benefit from the effects of CBD.

CBD oil: What it is and how it works in cats

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 2 major cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp, 2 terms often used interchangeably.

Humans, cats, and all mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that includes 2 receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 is found mainly in the central nervous system and CB2 mostly resides in the immune and digestive systems. Cannabinoids bind to and act on those receptors. Studies into CBD how it affects those receptors to improve the body’s functionality and homeostasis are increasing in humans and in our pets.

CBD oil is a highly concentrated form of the CBD cannabinoid. Sometimes known as a tincture, the CBD is usually in a carrier oil such as olive or MCT oil, which is a combination of several oils including coconut, hemp seed, sunflower, grapeseed, and others. Because of its purity, it can be used medicinally. CBD oil for cats doesn’t come from cannabis, it only comes from hemp. The resulting CBD oil is a safe, natural, and non-toxic remedy for your cat.

THC is toxic for your pet and will make them sick. Only administer 100% pure CBD oil to your cat, and then, only in consultation with your vet.

Ask your retailer whether their products have been tested by a third party for contaminants, pesticides, heavy metals, and other impurities. A reliable and responsible vendor will readily share test results with you. If they don’t test or won’t share the testing results, look elsewhere.

Benefits of CBD for cats

Arthritis and joint pain

It turns out that dogs, notoriously prone to arthritis, are not the only ones to suffer a high incidence of arthritis and joint pain. A 2011 study found 61% of cats, 6 and older, suffer from arthritis in at least one joint. That number rises to 82% in cats 14 and older. Arthritis and joint pain lead to poor mobility and energy, as well as increased pain.

Arthritis, caused by the degeneration of joint cartilage that allows painful bone-to-bone contact, results in chronic inflammation and joint pain. Arthritis affects your cat’s mobility, even just walking.

A powerful anti-inflammatory, CBD can help to mitigate the pain and prevent the spread of inflammation. In addition, researchers have found that CBD can decrease the perceived pain levels through the activation and desensitization of the brain’s vanilloid receptor, which controls pain signals.

CBD can help alleviate stress and anxiety for your cat

Like their owners, cats experience stress and anxiety at levels that vary depending on a cat’s environment. A circumstance such as changes in their home condition, a poor relationship between cats and their humans, catfights, or health problems can all affect a cat’s health and wellbeing.

And, like people, moderate stress can irritate your cat; continued stress will impact health, poor grooming, behavior problems, as well a host of other issues. In addition, it’s difficult for you to notice that your cat is stressed, which perpetuates and increases the problem.

Researchers investigating CBD have noted that it mitigates stress and anxiety. It moderates cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress) production and influences the brain’s receptors that regulate mood and thereby moderate the brain’s stress response.

Reduce epileptic seizures

Just like their owners, cats can suffer from epilepsy and seizures. Seizures occur when the brain’s electrochemical activity reaches an abnormal level, usually as a result of brain damage or a variety of other brain conditions.

CBD acts to reduce the electrical disruption each time it’s taken, creating a cumulative suppressive effect on seizures down the line. It’s no cure, but it does reduce seizure frequency substantially. Given the severe side effects often suffered from pharmaceuticals, CBD’s relatively mild side effects make it a good alternative treatment.

There is a limited but increasing amount of research into CBD as an alternative treatment for feline epilepsy. The American Epilepsy Society’s 2015 study is one of the best-known; it confirmed that CBD effectively reduced the frequency and severity of seizure by a median of 45.1%.

Stimulate appetite

A healthy appetite and eating habits indicate a healthy cat, and the opposite is just as true. Several things can cause poor appetites, such as dental issues and illness. CBD can act to stimulate appetite and to relieve related digestive issues, as well as other health issues.

Cancer and its effects on cats

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are viruses that can cause lymphoma and other cancers in cats. Lymphoma originates in a kind of white blood cell, called a lymphocyte. Lymphocytes play an important role in a cat’s immune system.

Research reveals cats with FeLV are 60 times as likely to contract lymphoma. Studies show that cats diagnosed with FeLV are 60 times more likely to develop lymphoma. By contrast, cats with FIV are only 5 times as likely to contract lymphoma.

In a reversal of usual roles, in 2011 an in-vitro study of human breast cancer cells at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that CBD “helped induced the programmed death of the cancer cells while causing minimal damage to healthy cells.”

Also in 2011, the Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment published a similar study on the effects of CBD on breast cancer cells in mice. The study’s authors concluded the results were evidence of CBD’s anti-tumor effects.

Because of the limited research into the benefits of CBD for cats’ health and well-being, more study is needed. Talk with your vet about the benefits, many pet owners are already convinced about the benefits of CBD for their furry friends.