Cost of arthritis medication for cat - can someone give me a guideline please?

(16 Posts)
Shouldwego Mon 05-May-14 09:30:04

Our 13yo girl cat is showing signs of arthritis. She has never been the most agile, her twin brother still leaps everywhere and always has done whereas even 10yrs ago she didn't jump the stairgate when we had one. We had her checked at the time and there was nothing wrong with her, she was overweight but that is due to a hormone imbalance that the vet did not suggest any treatment for.

Anyway, she is now showing signs of being quite doddery and struggling up stairs, just generally slowing down but her movements seem awkward.

We do not have them insured (yes I know and I would insure future cats but we're too late with these two as no-one will insure 13yos).

So I am after an idea of the costs of medication so that I can broach the subject with DH before we go to the vet. Whilst we have always paid for any treatment they have needed with no hassle I think he may be slightly reluctant to pay for long term drugs if her quality of life will not significantly improve.

Thanks for your help.

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 10:09:20

Seniorboy was showing signs of arthritis and his vet put him on lactulose (because he was having some pooing accidents mainly, I think, due to difficulty in maintaining his high squat) and Loxicom.

Those are daily liquid meds and he's eating them with his food even though he's a fussy eater. (Won't take a pill.) The only problem is that the Loxicom is an NSAID which can have long term effects on their kidney function, as I understand it. I made the judgment that I'd rather have him with good quality of life but a shorter one but given his age (19), he's showing surprising tolerance to it and has been on it for nearly two years now with no obvious damage.

The cost of those two with my own vet is a smidge under £40 a month although you could also have to factor in the cost of extra blood tests which my vet used to ask for every six months to check kidney function etc. I think they're about £60 every six months. I can't quite remember because she waived the last ones due to his age and the fact that he's the very devil to take blood from. (I think that these days, she's more worried about him popping his clogs from a heart attack while taking blood than having renal failure which she's judging more (I think) from his good condition and weight maintenance.)

I've also put him on greem mussel sprinkle which has some excellent reports. (There's a thread on that somewhere which I'll try to find for you.) He certainly seems perkier from it even though it's a slightly fishy taste and he doesn't like that flavour. That's pretty cheap: about £11 for a tub of sprinkle which - the way things are going with Seniorboy - should see a cat out almost. Certainly many, many months for yours I would have thought.

You'll appreciate that it's a little difficult for me to judge the effects of any of the meds. He's an old old boy now and is starting to fade a little through just that - but he certainly seems to have had a good couple of years.

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 10:17:27

Here's that other thread for you.

Sorry - the cost of the 'sprinkle' is about £13.something plus postage. Brain like a sieve, me.

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 10:39:47

PS - I'd also try to get her weight down in some way. Carrying extra tonnage won't be any help at all if she has potentially dodgy joints.

Shouldwego Mon 05-May-14 10:45:30

Thanks for the reply, I'll look into those and at the other thread too. She also does have the occasional poo around the house so that may help too.

With regard to her weight, she actually eats less than boy cat but has significant hormone issues as she was actually a hermaphrodite so had both boy and girl bits removed when she was younger (more girl than bit though hence 'she'). We were told previously that she will always hang onto the weight and there is nothing to be done, this was many years ago though. I would describe her as overweight rather than obese.

Thanks again

Atbeckandcall Mon 05-May-14 10:57:08

Hello, vets fees vary from surgery to surgery and even postcode to postcode. I'd suggest giving your vet a call and fin out how much a bottle of loxicom is (big bottle), cosequin for cats and a bag of weight management food.
Also lots of vets do free senior pets checks to discuss such things, it's worth asking them about those so you can discuss long term treatment options.

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 11:04:40

Ah well - I can't comment on hormone issues. You really need a vet for that so maybe one of the vets who post will comment.

It's possible, though, that if she has a good effect from meds she might become more active and lose some weight that way. (As long as she doesn't nick her brother's food.) Let's hope.

By the way, if your boycat is her twin, he might also benefit from - say - some sprinkle, given his age. (That has no effect on renal function, apparently so seems pretty safe for prophylactic dosing.) I'd keep a weather eye on him anyway.

Oh - and maybe invest in a heat pad or two as soon as autumn comes along. Older cats who may be a bit arthritic just love a heated pad to sleep on - they seem to ease older bones a great deal.

Best of luck.

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 11:05:54

Good points, Atbeck.

Just to say that it is possible to insure older cats - I stayed with the same insurer for years, assuming that I couldn't change. And the costs rocketed so I was paying direct line £50/month for my two 12yr old cats, despite having only claimed once. So I did some web searches and got cover for both for £25/month from More Than in January, on a better level of cover. It might not help with the arthritis issue but it is still possible to get reasonable insurance for older cats.

Shouldwego Mon 05-May-14 12:59:39

Thank you, will look into those medicines and get in touch with the vet. Also very interesting about insuring older cats, I will look at that too, we have been very lucky and had hardly any illness so thankfully have not yet suffered through lack of insurance but I am very aware that this will become an issue.

To be honest I am not too worried about her hormone issues, the get certainly wasn't and with the exception of her being a bit chunky it doesn't seem to have caused her any issues.

Thanks again to all.

Shouldwego Mon 05-May-14 13:00:27

The vet rather than the get(!) wasn't bothered by her hormones that was meant to say!

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 13:10:22

Yes - that will be good news for some people. I'd recommend, though, that you look at policy details most carefully, including excesses/type of cover etc. Pet insurance is coming under a lot of pressure from the market and it looks as if something would have to give when it comes to older animals.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 05-May-14 13:49:46

I was involve in the cat watch clinical trial for meloxicam ( the active ingredient in metacam and loxicam). We monitored kidney values in the cats for quite a long time and whilst there is a potential risk the problems only occur in a very few cats. We also monitored activity scores for the cats and saw a dramatic increase in activity and interaction with owners as cats in pain tend to withdraw and do less.
Typical clients comments were ' I thought she had stopped playing because she was old, but in fact it was because she was in pain. It is lovely to see her play again', 'I thought I had adopted a really good cat because she had never walked on our glass dining room table, the other day I found foot prints on the table and realised that she had been in pain for the last four years and I hadn't realised'.
Overall there was a statically massive improvement in quality of life when on the metacam compared to not being on it. We did scores for 7 days before trial and after 30 days on trial and it was a double blinded trial with a placebo. We also made video diaries before and after the trial at home and had gait analysis of before and after.
A significant number of cats actually had kidney values that fell as they became more active. Having been involved in the trial which was an excellent quality study with a large number of cats enrolled in more than 20 ordinary vets practice I feel while there are risks with using meloxicam there are huge quality of life benefits for the cats.
The only cat we have had die from renal failure whilst on meloxicam was my own cat who also had a pleural effusion and I made a decision to use a combination of drugs that whilst improving her quality of life would ultimately lead to renal failure. Without the combination of drugs she would have used 9 months earlier from the pleural effusion. I have been using meloxicam regularly in cats for 10 years now.

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 13:56:44

That's all really useful, Lone - so the warnings are more for 'caution' purposes than a 'skull and crossbones' ?

Perhaps my old boy having done so well for a year, his vet also felt confident that he wasn't in the at risk group?

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 05-May-14 13:58:47

They have to be listed Cozie as the risks exist, but the VMD require every single possible side effect to be listed on the data sheet even if it is a 1 in a million chance.

cozietoesie Mon 05-May-14 14:01:50

It's certainly made a big difference to his quality of life. He's fading now but that's not really the fault of the meds and they've given him a couple of extra good years.

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