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Mechanisms of arthritis in cats uncovered by researchers

According to a study, as cats age they become more likely to have arthritis. (Mainichi)

Japanese researchers have uncovered differences in the way that arthritis occurs in cats compared to humans, in a study published in the online version of the British journal Scientific Reports on Jan. 5.

    Arthritis in humans occurs when cells in the joints are stimulated and three different enzymes in the cells act separately. Arthritis in cats was thought to work in the same way, but a team including professor of veterinary biochemistry Hiroshi Sugiya at Nihon University found differently. After culturing cat knee joint cells, the researchers determined that of the three enzymes two work together in a unique way in the cells to cause arthritis.

    Meanwhile, veterinarian Taku Kitanaka, who is a graduate student at the university, and others examined 75 cats in 2015 aged between 1 and 21, checking the joints at six locations including the knees, elbows and shoulders. They found that 30 percent of the cats aged 1 to 4 had arthritis, compared to 56.5 percent of those aged 5 to 10, and 90.6 percent of those aged 11 and older, indicating that the older cats get the more likely they are to have arthritis.

    Currently there is no effective treatment for cat arthritis, and they can only be given temporary pain relievers. It is thought that arthritic pain is a reason that old cats don't move much.

    Veterinarian Rei Nakano, a member of the research team, says, "We have found that a different approach to treating feline arthritis is needed compared to arthritis in humans. We hope to find a treatment method for cats that has the least amount of side effects, and tie our research into the realization of new medicines."

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