Your sweet little Foldie has been diagnosed with osteochondrodysplasia, “OCD” for short, and you’re worried – ‘What does this mean?’ ‘Are they going be OK?’ ‘What can I do?’
First of all: Don’t panic. There is a large range of treatments and recommendations available that should help your kitty have an acceptable quality of life, so that they aren’t in constant pain. OCD is similar to arthritis – it’s painful and can limit mobility, but except in extreme cases, the symptoms of OCD can usually be managed long term.
I have collected all of the therapies I could find here on this page, mainly from Facebook groups and online studies. Some are invasive and/or expensive – such as radiation treatments or surgery – others are easy and you can do them on your own at home – such as administering supplements and providing your cat with a warm environment. This page is meant to give you a brief overview of the possibilities.
This article is not meant to replace actual medical advice. Always consult a veterinary professional who is experienced in treating osteochondrodysplasia in Scottish Folds to find the right combination of therapies for your cat.
You will find a brief descriptions of the following kinds of therapies in this article:
- Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Vitamin C, Harpagophytum procumbens (a.k.a. African devil’s claw), Hyaluronic acid, microlactin, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) and CBD oil
- Adapting their Environment: keep it warm, have everything within reach and easy to get to
- Proper Nutrition: high quality wet food (70% meat, no grain or sugar) or a well-balanced raw diet
- Weight Management: by sticking to the proper nutrition and keeping treats healthy
- Medications for Pain and Inflammation: Prescription meds such as Meloxicam, Robenacoxib, Firocoxib, Buprenorphine, Tramadol, Phenylbutazon, Gabapentin, Pentosan Polysulfate (PPS) and – in rare cases – Carprofen. Natural remedies, like Backmotion, Drynaria, Rejoint, Zeel and Traumeel. In addition, Prednisalone (also in combination with Phenylbutazon, as “Phen-Pred”), steroids and, finally, cortisone can be prescribed.
- Non-invasive (“Alternative”) Therapies: Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT or “cold” laser therapy), infrared heating lamps, Magnetic Resonance Therapy, acupuncture/gold bead implants, electromagnetic therapy (EMT), such as the Assisi Loop.
- More Involved Medical Procedures: palliative irradiation/LD-RT Low-Dose Radiation Treatment, stem cell therapy and, as a last resort, surgery.
- A sample regimen for a young, mildly affected Scottish Fold with OCD
You can download the OCD Treatments for Scottish Fold Cats as a PDF at the end of this page. Go directly to the PDF download
Glucosamine and chondroitin
First and foremost, I recommend glucosamine in combination with chondroitin for all Scottish Fold cats. Since all Scottish Folds have at least some degree of OCD (since this is what causes their ears to fold), it makes sense to want to nourish and protect their cartilage, before issues even start.
I asked a vet friend of mine who told be that she gives her dog glucosamine-chondroitin about how much is safe to give my ca. 10 lb cat (4.4 kg). She consulted with another vet friend of hers and then recommended 125 mg twice a day. She’d read up on it and although there were initially concerns a long time ago about it raising blood sugar levels these have since been debunked. Cost factor: ca. $15 a month
She also sent me a link to this article:
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is arguably the most commonly used nutraceutical in the world. Medical and veterinary practitioners who avoid alternative medicine in general will still frequently prescribe glucosamine, usually as treatment for osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease.
In placebo-controlled studies, glucosamine has compared favorably to ibuprofen in the long term reduction of pain associated with arthritis in humans, while causing fewer side effects.
– Steve Marsden, DVM, and colleagues View source
The article above only discusses dogs, but I also encountered a study where glucosamine is recommended for Scottish Fold cats with OCD:
Specifically regarding OCD in Scottish Fold cats: The oral chondroprotective agents such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate make the patients alleviate their pain without adverse effects.
– Jinhwa Chang and colleagues View source
Green Lipped Mussels
A natural source of Glucosamine is the green lipped mussel from New Zealand (perna canaliculus). The mussels are available in many forms, such as dried and ground into a pure powder or an oil can be extracted from them. The oil is said to be especially effective, but also quite a bit more expensive so that I don’t know of anyone who has bought it for their cat. You can sprinkle up to 500 mg of the powder over their normal food every day. It has quite a strong fishy smell to it, so some cats love it and will lap it up pure – others won’t go near it. If your kitty is not amused, you can still try one of the following more processed products. These also have the advantage of already being combined with Chondroitin.
There are a number of products for pets containing glucosamine-chondroitin on the market, auch as Cosequin, Dasuquin, Adequan (injectable) and GlycoFLEX. Since I live in Germany, where these brands cost about 4 times more than in the US, if available, I also started giving my cats supplements developed for human sports medicine. I compared the ingredients in this product with Cosequin and did not find any significant differences: Chondroitin Glucosamine from Biotech USA, available here for example.
Other suggested dietary supplements for the joints include collagen together with Vitamin C. Hyaluronic acid and MSM are also joint-related supplements you can give to your Scottish Fold cat suffering from OCD.
Hydrolyzed Collagen together with Vitamin C
Hydrolyzed collagen is efficiently absorbed from the digestive tract. Collagen has amino acids helpful in the maintenance of connective tissue structures such as cartilage, tendons, ligaments, skin and bone.
Collagen is an essential protein in your cat’s body that promotes healthy bones and joints. It’s recommended to give hydrolyzed collagen together with Vitamin C, which helps animals naturally produce collagen themselves.
The makers at Lunderland recommend 1 g of collagen (a half teaspoon) sprinkled over wet food for an animal with up to 11 lbs of body weight. It should be given 2:1 to a natural source of vitamin C. Cost factor: ca. $2 per month
The Way of Cats blog recommends unflavored gelatine as a natural source of collagen (view source). You could combine this with a natural source of Vitamin C, as well, such as rosehip powder. I was easily able to find a number of products available online, though some were specified for dogs or body builders. Just read the list of ingredients carefully or check with your vet before giving your cat a particular product, if you are unsure.
Harpagophytum procumbens (or African devil’s claw)
A herbal remedy in which the tuberous root of this plant is used to reduce pain, especially for arthritis and treating liver diseases. Though the name sounds like something out of a witch’s cauldorn, its use has been documented in a serious medical study in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the OCD symptoms of two young Fold toms were managed successfully:
The cats were treated with firocoxib (Previcox®, Merial) 5 mg/kg p.o., for a period of 10 days, every month, and glucosamine HCl, Chondroitine sulfate, Harpagophytum procumbes (Flexadine®, Vetoquinol), one tablet daily, for twenty days, each month.
After the administration of the therapeutic scheme the animals were significantly more dynamic and playful. No signs of lameness or pain were presented. Significantly better clinical response to the treatment was observed in the second patient, which was expressed in the lack of lameness and signs of pain.
– Nadya Zlateva and colleague. View source
Naturally occurring hyaluronic acid is responsible for the sticky consistency of joint fluid. Since it retains water, this acid promotes lubrication and strengthens connective tissue while also decreasing joint inflammation, all of which makes it easier for pets to stay comfortably active.
– Pet MD View source
A quick search revealed several brands of hyaluronic acid, which are safe for cats to ingest (e.g. HyaFlex, Hyalogic….). A small medicinal 1 oz bottle should last about 14 days. Dosage: 2 ml a day. Cost factor: ca. $50 a month
Microlactin (Hyperimmune milk) is a form of milk that is acquired by giving lactating cows immunostimulants, which produces a larger amount of antibodies in their secreted milk. It appears to be effective in reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis and may support the immune system.
– Kamal Patel for Examine.com View source
Microlactin can be used safely in dogs, cats and horses. The dose in cats (according to experts such as James Gaynor, DVM) is 30 to 50 mg/kg orally twice a day. It takes time for maximal effects. We see initial effects within four to seven days and maximal effects in 10 to 14 days. This is why Microlactin is not well-positioned for acute pain. For chronic pain, during weeks one through three, overlap with an NSAID or a corticosteroid. After week three, continue Microlactin for long-term anti-inflammatory activity. Cost factor: ca. $15/month
Though MSM is listed on several websites, it has since been brought to my attention that the sulfur compound may have the exact opposite effect than what is intended, namely, that according to one article it can actually cause another form of arthritis.
Sulfa turns into uric acid in the body which actually “results “in Rheumatoid arthritis.
If it’s not from nature or in organic form then it is probably a wise decision to avoid it.
– Tamra Rose, Rawlife Health Coach View source
I find the second statement, that supplements should come from nature and be in their organic form as particularly good advice. We are not veterinary professionals and need to be careful that what we give our cats doesn’t end up doing more harm than good. Though recommended by PET MD for older pets whose bodies are no longer producing enough, I would be reluctant to recommend supplementing MSM in the case of young Scottish Folds with OCD at this point.
Originally, I had posted the following information about MSM:
MSM is another naturally occurring substance that is regularly combined with both glucosamine and chondroitin in joint supplements for senior cats and dogs.
In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, this sulfur compound supports connective tissue. Although it is produced in the body and present in many foods, a pet’s MSM level gradually declines with age.
– Pet MD View source
Available as a cristalline powder. Dosage between 500 mg – 1 gram daily for a 10 lb. cat. Cost factor: ca. $1 a month
☠️ Terpene-free and THC-free! Otherwise toxic to pets!
☠️ Make sure that the oil you purchase is sourced from hemp (not marijuana) plants!
☠️ Never give your cat marijuana directly!
☠️ Do not exceed the recommended dosage!
CBD oil calls for the most caution of all of the supplements. Not a lot of medical studies have been done on the effects of CBD oil in cats and it’s mainly holistic veterinarians who are using is to treat symptoms, such as inflammation, anxiety and pain. It seems to have a strong flavor and can be difficult to get a cat to take willingly, i.e. through mixing with food or treats.
But according to one Scottish Fold owner whose kitten has severe OCD, CBD oil is definitely worth trying. She has been administering it to her 5 month old kitten for 1 month now and reported the following:
Mine has ocd and the day I took her in to have it diagnosed she couldn’t even walk… I turned down the pain meds and took her home but didn’t expect to have much longer with her (she was 16 weeks at the time). After researching, I ordered some glucosamine chondroitin drops and started giving them to her because it couldn’t hurt … A few days went by and she got to where she wouldn’t get up at all …. Someone told me about the cbd and I figured I had nothing to lose …
Within 30 min of giving cbd to this cat that had not moved for a couple days … I could squeeze her back feet and she literally had no reaction… any other time she would scream in pain and bite if you barely touched those back feet ….. Within a hour she was running up and down my stairs and running all over the house !! This stuff is a miracle !!!!!! She’s in no pain now and all the swelling in those back feet is completely gone !!! I can’t recommend cbd enough for this condition !!!!!
– an owner of a 5 month old Scottish Fold kitten with severe OCD
She was kind enough to allow me to post BEFORE and AFTER videos of her kitten here:
The owner ordered the CBD oil from HolistaPet and administers a “small amount” directly in the kitten’s mouth, mornings and at night. Please let us know how your cat responds to CBD oil – also from other brands (in the comments below or via email). Cost factor: ca. $30 a month for a full grown cat
There are not many classical medical studies that explore the effects of CBD oil in cats.
While we don’t recommend CBD oil for our patients, holistic veterinarians are using it to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, anxiety and pain.
– Dr. Daniel Inman, Veterinarian View source
I start with 0.5 mg/kg of CBD twice daily and increase gradually. If you are using HempRx, start with 2-4 drops twice daily and increase. It can take 2-4 weeks to see results with body pain. Be patient!
– Dr. Angie Krause, Veterinarian View source
Once you have purchased a CBD oil which is in fact safe for your cat to take, please keep the following in mind:
The biggest safety factor to keep in mind when administering CBD oil for cats is dosage. The most common reason for adverse effects in cats after being given CBD oil is a high dosage.
If you’re using CBD oil to treat a chronic condition in your pet, here are the generally recommended dosages:
A general rule of thumb is 1mg to 5mg for every 10lbs that your cat weighs. For chronic conditions, such as arthritis: 0.5mg of CBD per kilogram of your pet’s weight (0.5 mg/kg) twice per day. Start off with 1 mg per day and increase slowly.
– innovetpet.com View source
And, here, again the reason why the CBD oil you bought for yourself should not be given to your cat, if it’s a full spectrum oil:
What should you take into consideration?
With regard to terpenes and full spectrum oils, there’s an important point to take into consideration. Firstly, cats should not consume full spectrum oils because they do not have the enzymes needed to break down the terpenes contained in them. Cats unfortunately can only metabolize terpenes with great difficulty or not at all, so aromatherapy should also be avoided. (translated from German)
– CBD-Nature.com View source
Keep it warm & cozy for them
As with other types of arthritis, a cold environment should be avoided. If you don’t usually leave the heat on while you’re out for the day, consider getting an inexpensive door to one room and cutting a kitty door into it. You could just heat that one room with the door closed and your cat can still decide if that’s where he wants to be.
A company called Back on Track of Sweden offers therapeutic (dog) beds which contain ceramic particles to reflect the warmth from your pet’s body thus “relaxing muscles and easing soreness.” There are also a number of electric options available.
Provide your cat with ramps, steps or a series of raised platforms to get up onto and down from places. Like this, they don’t have to jump or make any jarring movements which may be painful to their joints.
This could include spice rack steps to get in and out of their litter box or positioning a trunk, short nightstand, etc. to help them on and off of favorite spots, such as the bed.
Please make sure that any additional levels are stable, non-slippery and can support their weight without tipping over, even if while climbing down they put all of their weight onto their front paws first. I find that using large cable binders to tie pieces of furniture together can add extra stability, even if these are only stapled on using a staple gun.
A raised feeding station is a good idea so that they stand while eating, especially if they have back pain.
Cats need meat
As obligate carnivores, all cats need animal-based protein, i.e. meat and organs. Giving your cat a species-appropriate diet should come naturally – not only after your sweetheart gets sick!
High quality, animal-based protein helps in the production of cartilage that protects joints. It also combats the muscle wasting and muscle loss that can occur with old age.
– Cattime.com View source
You will also find other helpful tips in the Cattime.com article above, such as fish oil – and some questionable ones, like cayenne pepper (!), too. Good luck with that one!
Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acid, which can reduce joint inflammation and pain.
Studies have shown that arthritic cats who take fish oil remain more active.
– Cattime.com View source
Salmon oil especially is recommended for its health benefits. You can add just a few drops over your cat’s wet food. Or I give my girls a piece of actual broiled salmon once a week, which is a welcome treat.
Keep their weight in check
It makes sense that if a cat is having to carry around extra weight, that this means extra stress on their joints. But the key to keeping them fit isn’t restricting how much they eat, it’s giving them the right food to begin with. View source
Cats will feel full once they’ve eaten enough animal protein (meat and organs), whether you are feeding it to them from a can or a balanced raw diet. If they are getting food which contains more than 5% carbohydrates, such as grains, rice, soy, potatoes or peas, this is not species appropriate and it doesn’t trigger their brains to tell them they are full because their bodies are left craving meat. And, worst of all, if they are being fed dry kibble, this does not contain enough moisture, so it is going to damage their kidneys over time, as well. View source
My tip: Careful on the treats! These often contain grain and or sugar. Rather give them freeze-dried meat jerky as snacks. And creamy snacks since at least they are getting some extra moisture.
I add some extra water whenever I can: to their wet food or creamy snacks. Our domesticated cats are the descendents of desert wildcats in North Africa (Felis lybica). Water was scarce so they developed a low thirst drive and got most of their water from their prey (meat is 70-75% water).
Fun fact: In this water-depleted environment, Cats’ eyes evolved to stay moist without having to blink very often. This is why you aren’t going to win a staring contest with your cat!
The very best pain relief for dogs and cats: weight reduction!
– Blog post by Dr. Ralph Rückert, Veterinarian, View source (in German only)
Vet Prescribed Remedies
Pain and anti-inflammation medications
Cats suffering from osteochondrodysplasia can be treated with a combination of pain and anti-inflammation medications, as needed. I am familiar with the active ingredients Meloxicam (brand names: Melocam, Melosus, Loxicom), Robenacoxib (brand name: Onsior) and Firocoxib (brand name: Previcox) for Scottish Folds with OCD, but can’t really go into the pros and cons.
From Ronin’s story I know of an opioid called Buprenorphine or Buprenex. Another opioid Tramadol (brand name: Ultram) has also been recommended. A medical professional told me about Gabapentin (Brand name: Neurontin), which is usually prescribed for epilepsy, but also for neuropathic pain. A study suggests that Gabapentin is useful in treating arthritis, but the effect can be too sedating if dosed too high. I was hesitant to include it in this section on pain and anti-inflammation medications since it is principally an anti-convulsant. However, its proponent explained it to me as follows:
Gabapentin is actually a decent medication. We use it often at my veterinary hospital. I don’t think it should be used alone because there are many different pain receptors. So when we think about pain control, it needs to be multimodal.
– A veterinary professional who is well versed in SFOCD Read more about multimodal pain control
The study which serves as a source for the next section on Prednisolone mentions Pentosan Polysulfate (PPS) and Carprofen, though the lists of adverse effects are long and pretty alarming for both drugs and they are not used as a first choice for cats. Since all of these medications need to be prescribed by your vet, I will leave the risk-benefit analysis up to you and them, though you are very welcome to report back what works in your cat’s individual case.
As far as I can tell, products containing Meloxicam are prescribed the most frequently. Please note that these need to be shaken vigourously before each dose. And one owner reported that it took 2 weeks before her Fold started to experience pain relief.
My tip: All medications are going to have some side effects, such as adversely affecting your Foldie’s liver. But I have to emphasize that I do not agree with letting an animal’s pain go untreated, even if it means they might not live as long as some other cats of the same breed.
In other words: If your cat has more quality of life with medication, then that’s more important than the quantity. 🖤
However, if you are able to reach comparable levels of wellbeing with natural remedies, such as Backmotion, Drynaria, Rejoint, Zeel and Traumeel, these are preferable since they will have fewer side effects. If they don’t do the job, you can try only giving your kitty pain medication on the days they need it, as opposed to as part of a daily routine.
Prednisalone, Steroids or Cortisone
Prednisolone (not to be confused with Prednisone!)
In one of the newer studies available online Osteochondrodysplasia in a 9-Year-Old Scottish Fold Cat (view source), an older cat with crippling OCD could be helped somewhat with prednisolone in 2016. It is debatable, however, if the cat is this study attained a quality of life that warranted keeping her alive. Prednisalone is also available in combination with the pain medication Phenylbutazon, under the name “Phen-Pred.”
The researchers summarized the therapies available to them for OCD here:
Some cats may show improvement in lameness and pain by using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pentosan polysulphates or glycosaminoglycans. Also, new studies demonstrated good outcomes with radiation therapy and samarium-153–1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetramethylene-phosphonic acid therapy. In our case in addition to glycosaminoglycans, carprofen was considered to be more suitable therapy in the first place because of leucocytosis. Later, when treatment was continued with corticosteroid, it was observed that the cat was better. Also vitamin C was added, because its contribution to collagen synthesis may contribute to reduce the cartilage degeneration.
– Gulcan Turan and colleagues View source
Steroids, e.g. Laurabolin, were recently suggested by one vet for a cat whose front legs were turning outwards, in order to strengthen its muscles and keep its legs from giving out. The cat’s owner had not decided whether or not to pursue this form of treatment at the time of writing.
Through one of the kittens Ruby’s owner (you can read her story here), I have also heard of prescribing Cortisone for OCD. However, cats should only be given cortisone in tablet form, in the evenings when their natural cortisone levels are highest.
The rule of thumb with these types of drugs is as low a dosage as possible for as short of a time as possible (max. 7 days in a row), due to the severity of the side effects.
Other Non-invasive (“Alternative”) Therapies
LLLT, Low-Level Laser Therapy a.k.a. “cold” laser therapy
Low-level or “cold” laser therapy is also being increasingly employed for the treatment of inflammation and symptoms associated with osteo arthritis, as is the case with OCD.
Despite a lack of consensus over its validity, some studies suggest that LLLT may be modestly effective, in relieving short-term pain for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, chronic low back pain, acute and chronic neck pain, tendinopathy, and possibly, chronic joint disorders.
– Wikipedia View source
Infrared Heating Lamp
Since warmth is helpful in relieving arthritis pain and stiffness, some people set up an infrared heating lamp for their cat with osteochondrodysplasia. They position the lamp to shine down on a comfy spot and their cat is free to lie there or leave, as they’d like. It’s important that the light doesn’t shine into your cat’s eyes and it should not be left on for very long periods of time since they could cause burns. Here is an example of a moderately priced infrared heating lamp.
MRT or MBST: Magnetic Resonance Therapy
Magnetic Resonance Therapy is not just being suggested for diagnosing osteochondrodysplasia, as with an MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, but also for its treatment, as well.
According to a clinic offering this treatment, MBST works as follows:
Metabolism in the tissue of the human body is controlled by electric and magnetic fields. A healthy body regulates the regeneration of cells and tissues with its own signal. However if tissue (such as cartilage) is damaged, the malfunction often interferes with this signal and hence inhibits regeneration and repair. The result is pain and reduced joint mobility, symptoms which arthritis sufferers are only too familiar with. The MBST attempts to redirect the signals to the damaged area into the original, normal and healthy form. Medical Trials are showing that the MBST reactivates cartilage regeneration within the joints, thus reducing chronic discomfort and distinctly improves joint mobility.
– Ashdown Clinic Website, View source
I do not personally know of anyone who has tried this therapy on their cat and the only study I could find online showed that the results were about the same as a placebo version of the treatment: Magnetic resonance therapy for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double blind placebo controlled trial
Acupuncture/Gold bead implants
Acupuncture plays a significant role in traditional Chinese medicine, where thin needles are inserted into pressure points for pain relief. It is scientifically unproven, with inconsistent results in numerous scientific trials. Gold bead implants work on the same principle, except that tiny gold beads are permanently implanted under the skin in very specific locations, in the hopes of bringing about longterm pain management.
I personally opted to have gold beads implanted in my Scottish Fold cat Ella, who has severe hip dysplasia. I read numerous articles and studies beforehand that indicated slightly positive results, even if these could be from a placebo effect from insertion of the large needles used in the implantation process, e.g. Two years follow-up study of the pain-relieving effect of gold bead implantation in dogs with hip-joint arthritis.
The procedure was costly (over $2,000, twice as much as usual, but she is very severely affected) and has not made any noticeable difference in her condition in the 1.5 years since having it done in October 2018. Though I do not regret having tried it, I can’t say I would necessarily recommend it to others as there are risks associated in case the metal implants start moving around. See: Gold Bead Implants — Medicine or Malpractice?
Electromagnetic Therapy (EMT), such as the Assisi Loop
The Assisi Loop is a completely non-invasive therapy where a large plastic coated ring, about a foot in diameter, with a sender for electromagnetic impulses is placed loosely around your cat for 15-minute sessions. This is meant to alleviate pain and inflammation and to promote healing. The online reviews are overwhelmingly positive, though the majority of these seemed to be prefaced by the statement: “This post is sponsored by Assisi Animal Health.”
For this reason, I contacted an honest and reliable person I am acquainted with via Facebook groups for an impartial review. This person’s review was also positive: The Assisi Loop user indicated that they are happy with the product, that is a “great tool” for helping with inflammation and that the cats don’t seem to mind it. But they added that it should to be used in combination with other therapies.
Now, before you start thinking that I am hoping for a fat check from Assisi Animal Health, I feel compelled to include some skeptical posts about the Assisi Loop, though admittedly from people who have never tried it for themselves. All of these comments appear on a board on the website The Straight Dope View source:
My initial suspicion would be that if this worked at all, the company would make it for humans rather than animals, because of financial gain.
One thing that concerns me about the Assisi loop in particular is how thin the coil is. If you want to generate a decent electromagnetic field, you need a decent sized coil to do it. That thing looks more like a TV loop antenna, and I suspect that it’s going to generate a very weak electromagnetic field.
Anything that uses “magnetic fields” is probably woo. There was a big study in 2007 that basically debunked a lot of “scientific studies” with static magnet devices.
As much as I would like our Foldies to become pain free with absolutely no discomfort, I would be very reluctant to recommend a device for $300, which does not have a proven scientific basis: I should also mention that it can only be used for between 100-150 sessions since the battery cannot be replaced, so between 3 weeks to 6 months, depending how often it is used. It’s your decision if you want to order an Assisi Loop of your own – but please share your experiences if you do.
More Involved Medical Procedures
Palliative irradiation/LD-RT (Low-Dose Radiation Treatment)
Though first reported back in the study Palliative Irradiation of Scottish Fold Osteochondrodysplasia in 2004, the most recent as well as the most promising therapies for massively affected cats all seem to involve radiation therapy.
Three cats in Japan could be treated successfully and without adverse effects in 2015. After about a month of radiation treatments, the cats were able to move around normally and no longer required pain medications such as Meloxicam. See the sudy: Efficacy and Complications of Palliative Irradiation in Three Scottish Fold Cats with Osteochondrodysplasia
And a further 8 yr old male with a mass on his hind paw could be successfully treated in 2019 as follows (emphasis added):
After coarsely fractionated external beam radiotherapy resulted in stabilization of the mass with eventual progression after 14 mo, samarium-153-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetramethylene phosphonic acid was administered systemically, and the cat showed immediate, whole-body improvement in mobility. Concurrent intestinal and respiratory disease was evaluated and managed. Samarium-153-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetramethylene phosphonic acid administration was repeated approximately every 6 mo for three treatments until the cat succumbed to thromboembolic disease attributed to previously diagnosed cardiac disease. Radiation therapy administered using either external beam or bone-seeking radioisotopes can be effective at palliating clinical signs associated with the skeletal abnormalities that accompany this disease.
– Kim A. Selting, DVM, and colleagues View source
Stem Cell Therapy
This therapy is an innovative way of treating both humans and animals alike. The patients own stem (or unspecialized) cells are “harvested” from their blood, fat or bone marrow and reinjected at the place of injury. For a Scottish Fold cat, this would be into their joints, where they experience pain. The hope is that the injected cells then recognize what’s missing – such as cartilage, for example – and cause regeneration of the needed tissue. The findings of studies are still unclear as to whether this actually happens, though it seems that some pain relief occurs regardless. View source
A case study dating from 1995 describes how surgery was used to treat lameness resulting from SFOCD (osectomy and arthrodeses). View source.
But when I have talked to people whose cats suffer from OCD, they often raise the concern about the surgery option. This is often because skeletal changes can be detected throughout their cats’ bodies and they ask the question, how would a surgeon even know where to start.
As it is the most invasive procedure and no recent studies could be found where it is still practiced, I have listed the surgery option quite literally as the last resort. I have since talked with a cat owner (see Ruby’s story here), who tried surgery for spongy masses on Ruby’s hind legs, but these could not be removed successfully since they had already grown into the healthy tissue.
A Sample Regimen
One member of our partner Facebook group who has a Fold with mild OCD was kind enough to share the list of therapies she currently uses with her cat, to give us an idea of how different ones can be combined. Since her cat is still quite young – not even a year and half old – she is trying to use less invasive treatments for now.
I try to use the lowest effective dose with medications. I’m a little more generous with supplements.
– mom of a young Fold with OCD
Here is one possible regimen for a Fold who is mildly affected by OCD:
- Cosequin, Microlactin and collagen 2 twice a day with food
- Electromagnetic Therapy (EMT) 2-4 times a day
- An omega 3 combo supplement (1 TDC) every other day, view product
- Salmon oil mixed in her raw food
- Half dose of Metacam every 3 days
- Adequan injection every 2 weeks
- Handicat accessible environment
I asked if this was enough to keep her kitty pain free and she answered:
She’s active. May still be uncomfortable. Occasionally limps. Doesn’t jump up on anything a lot but very playful and it doesn’t stop her from jumping down. Gets on couch, climbs cat condos and I make things accessible to her with benches and stairs.
– mom of a young Fold with OCD
In conclusion, if you have just received the diagnosis that your Foldie suffers from OCD, apart from the folded ears, don’t give up hope! There are a number of therapies that you and your doctor can try.
These include food supplements, adapting their environment, proper nutrition, weight management, medications against pain and inflammation, alternative therapies and, for the most severe cases, more involved traditional medical procedures.
The available treatments for Scottish Folds with osteochondrodysplasia are numerous and diverse. Please join the companion Facebook group for this website and let us know what works best for your kitty: Scottish Fold Info Community