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Cat with Psoriatic Arthritis?

September 2nd, 2008, 10:27 AM
Arnie (my roommate's cat) is a 12 year old neutered male. He's had arthritis in his hips for a long time now, and his posture is greatly affected. A couple of weeks ago his back left knee joint was so swollen that we took him to the emergency vet, fearing it was broken. They performed x-rays and determined it was really bad arthritis. He's also been having terrible problems with his skin. A few months ago he developed severe acne on his chin. We treated it with what the vet prescribed: very mild benzoyl peroxide and topical ointment. It was suggested to us that it was a result of stress. This week, Arnie's arthritis is better, but his skin is worse than I've ever seen. It's not acne anymore, but what appears to be severe psoriasis - he has open sores, scabs, and bald patches all over his head and neck. He has had instances of conjunctivitis in his eyes. He has also lost 2 pounds over the course of the last year, but he isn't eating any less. We took him to his regular vet who did a lot of bloodwork (to check his thyroid, etc.) and all of the tests came back negative. Could this be Psioratic Arthritis? If so, what would be the best thing to do? Allergy tests?
Here are some pictures of what his skin looked like last night:

I got home last night and broke into tears when I saw him. He's never looked so terrible. The vets don't seem to be providing answers. I know that he's uncomfortable and unhappy, and it's not fair. Does anyone have any suggestions?

September 2nd, 2008, 11:25 AM
Awww, your poor baby. I don't have any experience with arthritis, sorry. :grouphug:

Just out of curiousity, what are you feeding your kitty? Changing foods may help with the skin condition.

September 2nd, 2008, 01:06 PM
Did they not do a skin scraping? That would be something worth doing. Umm I would agree to switch foods. Pinnacle is supposed to be good for allergies, or raw feeding might help. Try supplementing with glocousimine and chondrotin. It's probably something autoimmune which with those types of things there is not much you can do about it.

Dr Lee
September 2nd, 2008, 05:12 PM
Rustycat - Thanks again for the tip on the thread.

Osteoarthritis can certainly be a painful and mobility limiting condition which can lead to stress and stress related ailments. If your veterinarian believes that the skin issues may be secondary to stress then addressing the osteoarthris may be beneficial and help any other secondary issues.

I don't know what your roommates cat is on so I will just describe some therapies - most of which can all be used together. Multimodality therapy is always the best. By using several options together we can maximize our pet's comfort.

1) Dasuquin. (This is a new and improved Cosequin). Not only is it a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement but it also has avocado extracts as well. Dasuquin comes in a chicken and tuna flavored capsule which can be sprinkled on top of the food. It is all natural. I prefer this brand to OTC options as the levels of the ingredients are guaranteed.

2) Free Form Omega 3 fatty acids with EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) will be beneficial to reduce pain and inflammation of the joint but also help with kidney blood flow and skin health!.

3) Acupuncture may be beneficial for the osteoarthritis, stress and skin problems. It is very safe. Only drawback is finding a licensed veterinary acupuncturist.

4) Metacam. This is a NSAID and has been successfully and safely used in cats now. Long term chronic use in cats is still off label however there are many papers and documents to support its safety in a cat with 'normal' blood work.

5) Therapy lasers and/or magnet therapy. If you can find someone that performs them, these treatment modalities can help out quite a bit. The exact mechanism is unknown however there are theories. The idea of the magnets is that red blood cells have hemoglobin which has iron which is attracted to magnets. It is believed that the magnets exert a vasodilatory affect and help improve circulation. However these work, there is a lot of reason to believe that they help and are also very safe.

Again, if we have a secondary health issue (skin problems secondary to arthritis induced stress) then focusing on the primary problem while also empirically managing the skin lesion may be very helpful. If the osteoarthritis becomes clearly improved with no change or a worsening of the skin lesions, then a second, primary problem needs to be evaluated and worked up.

I hope this helps.

-Dr. Lee:pawprint: