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Elanco urges vets to put cats on the agenda this autumn after World Arthritis Day.

Owners may not realise that cats are unwell because they are extremely adept at hiding illness and injury. Only subtle changes in their behaviour indicate illness, which is one of the reasons why osteoarthritis is thought to be underdiagnosed.

Following World Arthritis Day (12 October), Elanco UK is calling on vets and vet practices to speak to cat owners in practice and online about osteoarthritis in their pet and the importance of registering their feline friends so they can live healthy and happy lives.

Studies suggest there is a large population of cats living with undiagnosed joint disease and associated pain. One study of 100 cats found 100% had signs of DJD on radiography by the time they were 10 years-old.[1]

The condition is difficult for owners to spot, partly because there is low awareness and because some signs, such as resting for longer periods, could be considered normal behaviour. It means many owners are in the dark about their cat’s health.

To help vets, Onsior for cats, Elanco’s osteoarthritis treatment for chronic musculoskeletal disease (CMSD), has created the ‘Comfortable Cats’ report, helping vets to diagnose and treat feline joint disease. It gives tips to make examination easier in the consulting room and offers advice on how to speak to the owner about the disease. This work has been supported by a recent webinar, which discussed practical ways vets can detect behaviour change. Both resources are available on

Graeme Stevens, UK Elanco Technical lead for Onsior and Analgesic category, said: “Cats of all ages and breeds can be affected.[2] And clinical signs may not be immediately obvious because unlike osteoarthritis in dogs, lameness is not common in cats with CMSD. Cats also try to cope with severe orthopaedic disease and they hide pain by modifying their own activity.

“If we can increase awareness of the disease among owners and open up conversations, we can help diagnose and manage their condition to reduce pain and help more cats stay mobile.”

[1] B. Duncan X. Lascelles et al. Veterinary Surgery (2010) 39: 535
[1] Lascelles & Robertson 2010 J Fel Med Surg

[1] B. Duncan X. Lascelles et al. Veterinary Surgery (2010) 39: 535
[2] Lascelles & Robertson 2010 J Fel Med Surg