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J Vet Intern Med. 2007 May-Jun;21(3):410-6.

Evaluation of client-specific outcome measures and activity monitoring to measure pain relief in cats with osteoarthritis.

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Comparative Pain Research Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.



There are no validated systems for measuring pain from osteoarthritis in cats.


Owner subjective assessments and an activity monitor (AM) can be used to detect pain in cats with osteoarthritis and to assess efficacy of treatments.


Thirteen cats older than 10 years old, with owner-assessed decreases in activity, painful arthritic joints, and clinically normal blood work were included and evaluated for 3 weeks.


A collar-mounted AM measured activity and a client-specific outcome measure (CSOM) questionnaire characterized the severity of impairment. Overall global quality of life was also evaluated for each treatment. In weeks 2 and 3, meloxicam (0.1 mg/kg, day 1; 0.05 mg/kg, days 2-5) or a placebo was administered in a blinded, randomized, cross-over manner to test the assessment systems.


The cats had a median of 4 arthritic appendicular joints. Activity counts for the week when cats (complete data on activity; n=9) were administered meloxicam were significantly higher than at baseline (P = .02) but not after placebo (P = .06). Baseline activity counts were not significantly different from placebo (P = .6). The CSOM data (n=13) showed that owners considered their cats to be more active on meloxicam compared with baseline (P = .001) and placebo (P < .004), and more active on placebo than at baseline (P < .01). Global quality of life improved significantly with meloxicam (P < .042).


Both an AM and a CSOM system can detect behavior associated with pain relief in cats that are arthritic. Objective activity data might allow subjective assessment systems to be validated for use in clinical studies.

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