Prevalence of osteoarthritis in the joints of the appendicular skeleton of the cat
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A retrospective study of 471 radiographic images of cats from the archives of the Division of Diagnostic Imaging of the University Clinic for Companion Animals in Utrecht was performed. All visible joints were evaluated with regard to osteoarthritic changes. Breed, gender, age, weight, diagnosis and (history of) trauma were recorded in each cat. This was done to identify possible risk factors for osteoarthritis in cats. Logistic regression was performed per joint to evaluate putative risk factors (i.e. breed, gender, age, weight, trauma and diagnosis) in the development of osteoarthritis in cats. The prevalence of osteoarthritis in cats in this study was 36.7%. A significant relation was found between age and the degree of osteoarthritic changes in the shoulders (P<0.001), elbows (Pelbow1<0.001 and Pelbow2=0.015) and stifles (P=0.002). Cats are more likely to have osteoarthritic changes, as their age advances. Depending on the joint, the odds of having osteoarthritis increased with a factor of approximately 1.3 per extra year of age. No other putative risk factors were found to be significant. The prevalences of osteoarthritic changes in the evaluated joints are summarised. Not enough data was available to draw conclusions on the prevalence of osteoarthritis in the carpus and tarsus. Most of the osteoarthritic changes in the joints were graded as mild osteoarthritic changes. Less often the changes were graded as severe osteoarthritic changes. Osteoarthritis more often occurs bilaterally than unilaterally in shoulders and hips (P<0.001 for both). If one of the shoulder or hip joints was positive for osteoarthritis, in 86% (shoulders) and 95% (hips) of the cases osteoarthritic changes were also found in the contralateral joint. This report demonstrates an increased odds of having osteoarthritis in the joints of the appendicular skeleton of cats with increasing age, confirming the results of several other researches. Osteoarthritis in the elderly cat may be a new disease for the veterinarian to assess in the geriatric cat.