Dr. Solnik examines Arizona, whose monthly injections of Solensia help relieve her arthritis pain.
Dr. Solnik examines Arizona, whose monthly injections of Solensia help relieve her arthritis pain.

Solensia brings hope for arthritic cats

It’s no secret that cats love to play and have the run of the house. But if your cat seems to lose interest in chasing toys or if hopping up on the couch becomes a chore for them, talk to your vet about the possibility of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a painful, degenerative joint condition that occurs when the tissue in a cat’s joints begins to wear down, causing the bones to rub together. The result is detrimental to the cat’s quality of life, making movement difficult and potentially causing severe pain.

An injection of hope

Arizona goes for a hikeArizona goes for a hike.

Though there is no cure for feline osteoarthritis, there are ways to manage the pain. Our veterinarians have seen a marked improvement for feline osteoarthritis patients since the release of a medication called Solensia, a once-per-month injection. “For a long time we didn't have any really great long-term, safe medications for feline arthritis,” says Dr. Ashley Solnik. “That left us giving multiple pills or medications that could have side effects on the liver and kidneys which can lead to other health issues. Solensia is very safe and doesn't have any of those potential long-term side effects that other medications can have. Solensia works by using the cat’s own antibodies to essentially block pain signals that are associated with arthritis.”

Beyond its safety as a medication, Solensia has also proven to be extremely effective. “Since starting to use Solensia, most of the patients I have used it on have had a greatly improved overall quality of life,” says Dr. Solnik. “This medication truly eases their pain and gives people their active, friendly kitties back. I have also seen it be helpful for cats with inappropriate urination. Older cats that have arthritis can struggle to get in and out of the litter box, or maybe the litter box is downstairs, and the cat decides they do not want to go down to the box because they are in too much pain to go down the stairs. With Solensia on board, most of these cats’ urination issues have been resolved.” 

Like herself again

For Ariel, a CHFA employee, Solensia turned out to be the perfect solution for her cat Arizona, who is around 14 or 15 years old. An active, playful cat who even enjoys going on hikes, Arizona started showing signs of mild hip dysplasia and hip arthritis, including overgrooming, and after some X-rays and trying other solutions, Dr. Solnik put her on a course of Solensia injections. “We tried many different things, including pain management with Gabapentin which seemed to help a little, but overall she still wasn't really acting like herself and she was still overgrooming,” says Dr. Solnik.

At first Solensia seemed to be doing the trick. “I did see quite the improvement initially,” says Ariel, “but afterwards I wasn't so sure if she still needed it.” Ariel took Arizona off her course of Solensia for about two months and the results were telling. “She had a decreased appetite, she was yelling at night, and she was limping on her front legs really bad. We took X-rays of her front legs and her elbows were just atrocious.” According to Dr. Solnik, those X-rays showed advanced osteoarthritis. She and Ariel decided to restart the Solensia injections that same day “and now all she does is zoomies. I think I saw a notable difference within a week,” says Ariel.

Ariel points out that the medication taking effect this quickly is not always the case: “Sometimes for Solensia, it takes longer for the effects to kick in, and maybe because she had had it before, she had some built up in her system, but I definitely noticed her yelling less at night and playing more within a week.” Dr. Solnik says, “For cats just starting this injection, it can take two injections to see the full effect, so we recommend giving it at least two months to see how helpful Solensia will be for each individual cat.”

Although it is a monthly commitment to bring her cat to the vet and pay for the injections, Ariel strongly recommends those with osteoarthritic cats give Solensia a try. “If it weren’t for Solensia, we’d be looking at a quality of life situation for her, definitely, because of how bad her elbows are. Instead, she’s able to enjoy her life. It is worth it.”

If your cat is exhibiting symptoms of osteoarthritis, give us a call to see if Solensia is a good option for them!


A recent video of Arizona enjoying life after Solensia!