GI Disease Health

GI Disease & Arthritis in Cats: Medicines & Treatments

Discover what medicines and supplements can help a senior kitty who fights GI disease and arthritis.

One of the most frequent questions I get and judgement I receive is around medicating my resident and foster cats. In this post, we’ll break down how one senior kitty, Don Vito, lived his best life, even though he struggled with GI disease and arthritis.

Cat Study: Don Vito

Medicine: Prednisolone Daily

Other: B12 Injections Weekly, Probiotic Daily, Cosequin Supplement 2x Daily, Omega-3 Oil 1-2x Daily

Don Vito, Male, 15 years, cancer survivor

My resident tabby, Don Vito, just turned 15 years old. Last year, he tackled cancer (read about it here) through two surgeries and five chemo treatments. After chemo, he had a hard time keeping weight on. We did a malabsorption test and it was confirmed that he wasn’t properly absorbing nutrients, and that he had GI disease.

Treatment options included:

1. Weekly B12 injections so he would get more nutrients.

2. Addition of a probiotic to aid with digestion.

3. Prednisolone, a steroid, to take down inflammation in his GI tract.

His oncologist asked what I wanted to do, I said, “Everything.” It was clear to me that each option had a purpose, and in my head, if the inflammation didn’t go down, it would be harder for the probiotic to work, or for him to start absorbing nutrients. The oncologist explained that people are often fearful of the steroid, but she agreed it was actually the most important part of the treatment.

Tabby cat
Vito relaxes on an ottoman.

What are the effects of a long-term steroid on cats? Much better than dogs or humans. One of the main concerns with steroids is an increased chance of diabetes in overweight cats. Vito was underweight, so that wasn’t a concern.

What are the side effects of not absorbing nutrients? Much worse than steroids. I weaned him off the steroids after a few months and the GI disease returned. They are necessary for him.

I noticed he was drinking and peeing more on the steroid, so we checked his kidneys and they were fine. I thought the easiest way to help combat that side effect was by splitting his pill, so he gets half a pill 2x a day.

My Kitty Has GI Disease and/or Arthritis Shopping List

Stay Tuned …

In our next cat study, we’ll take a look at a REALLY itchy tortie. Miss Ava Bear fights environmental allergies on the regular. While they used to make her miserable, now they’re under control and easily treated. Find out what regimen works for her, and why treating her isn’t as scary as you might think.

By LizsKittyBootCamp

Hi, I'm Liz, and I'm a cat behaviorist who provides advice and insights on cat behavior.

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