May 2019

Pet of the Month: 
Grace, a 12 year old Russian Blue

Grace, a 12 year old Russian Blue was referred to the SMART Clinic in December 2018. She had been struggling with stiffness in her hips and stifles which was causing discomfort and starting to affect her quality of life. Grace is a very busy, active cat and her owner had noticed she had also started sleeping a lot more and had become hesitant to jump and play. She seemed more withdrawn and less interactive with her owners.

Here at the SMART Clinic we go to great efforts to ensure our Feline friends have an experience with us that is as stress free as possible. We understand a lot of cats do not like travelling in the car and coming to the Vets and we have recently built new facilities for our cats including a designated Cat Consulting Room and separate hospital facilities for our day patients, to help them feel happier and more secure when visiting us. We have cat beds, toys, Feliway diffusers and calming sprays to help them relax and we do our utmost to ensure they have the most positive experience with us that we can give them.

At her initial appointment, our vet Meleri noted that Grace walked with a very crouched stance, she took very short steps and was uncomfortable in her hips and elbows. This is likely due to Osteoarthritis but concurrent kidney disease means that Grace has not had radiographs taken to confirm this.

Our feline patients are all treated as individuals, and we work very hard to create a physiotherapy and rehabilitation program that is practical for both cat and owner. We appreciate exercises with cats can be challenging, and the exercises we set are especially designed for cats to be able to do at home.

Grace’s owner wanted to improve her quality of life by getting her back to her usual routine which involved jumping up on windowsills, running, playing and moving around the house without pain or restriction. Grace’s treatment was started immediately with a session of acupuncture, an introduction to our treadmill, as well as setting a therapeutic home exercise program. Some of our clients are often surprised that the cats that attend the clinic not only willingly walk in our treadmill without any form of restraint, many of our cats will happily walk in water.

Grace’s progress in the months she has attended the SMART clinic has been remarkable. She has gained weight, muscle mass and can now walk holding herself upright and walk with confidence. Her quality of life at home as improved so much and she is back to her usual self at home, keeping busy, active and chatting to everyone about her day! Grace’s owners have been so impressed with the improvement in Grace’s mobility and they have worked hard to implement all of the suggestions we have made, and exercises we have set as homework.

Grace was nominated to be Pet Of The Month by Gillian who has been so impressed not only by Grace’s ‘can-do’ attitude towards her recovery, and the improvement she has made, but also at the dedication of her owners to bring her to us for treatment, that is likely to continue long term. A 2011 study found that 61% of cats over 6 years old had arthritis in at least one joint. As our feline friends are living longer, we feel it is so important to help them to maintain their mobility and quality of life into their senior years. Well done Grace!