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Vet Surg. 2012 Apr;41(3):328-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2012.00976.x. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Evaluation of osteoarthritis in cats: novel information from a pilot study.

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Groupe de Recherche en Pharmacologie Animale du Québec (GREPAQ), Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada.



To describe structural changes associated with osteoarthritis (OA) in cats and to quantify OA-associated disability using functional evaluations.


Cross-sectional pilot study with longitudinal data.


Normal cats (n = 2) and coxofemoral joint OA cats (n = 4) were evaluated by physical examination, radiography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Structural changes related to OA were scored using computed radiographs (CR) and MRI. Functional evaluation consisted of podobarometric gait analyses performed using a pressure-sensitive mattress and motor activity assessments using collar-attached, accelerometer-based activity sensors.


Structural scores for the coxofemoral joint OA-related lesions were lower in normal cats than OA cats for MRI (P = .07). Use of MRI allowed for whole-organ assessment of the coxofemoral joint. Pelvic limb peak vertical ground reaction force (PVF) was higher in normal cats than OA cats (P = .10). During the night, motor activity was greater in normal cats than OA cats (P = .04). PVF was positively correlated with mean motor activity (Spearman coefficient [Rho] = 0.83, P = .04) and negatively correlated with age and MRI structural score (Rho = -0.93 and -0.79, P < .01 and .06, respectively).


This study provides the first description of OA-related lesions in cats using MRI. Gait analysis and accelerometry should be considered as objective tools to characterize OA-associated disability, although these assessments were weakly correlated with structural changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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