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George (same cat I wrote about earlier) developed hip dysplasia in both hips nearly a year ago. He had surgery to correct this on both legs at the same time and things are fine now. He runs, jumps and plays like nothing ever happened.

My question is this...shortly after this occurred my dad told me it could possibly be due to the fact that we let the cats gain weight too quickly (BIG cats, 14-pound adults). On one of our recent vet visits one of the vets told us there is some new research studying the effects of spaying/neutering a cat too early in life.

Both of our cats were neutered at approximately 3 months of age but we were told that they weighed enough to be able to have the surgery. They were approximately 2 pounds each at the time.

Does anyone know of new guidelines to go by as far as knowing the right age to "fix" a cat. The dysplasia only happened to George. Herbie is almost exactly the same size and nothing like this has happened to him.

Oh yeah...should we be worried about early onset of arthritis in George. Like I said, he's doing great now (2-1/2 years old) but are there any telltale signs or warning signals that could come earlier than expected because of the hip dysplasia.
 

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I've never heard anything linking early spay/neuter to hip dysplasia, but as far as inherited hip problems, some breeds- particularly the larger ones- (such as Maine Coons) tend to have a much higher incidence than others.

I don't know about the weight gain issue, but with all the large breed dog / puppy foods out there, I'm really surprised they haven't come up with something similar for cats and kittens. (Or maybe they have, and I just haven't come across it, lol.) I know the difference between a 6 lb. cat and a 16+-pounder isn't really as extreme as that between a 6 lb. dog and a 50+ lb. one, but joint development is an issue for large cats as well.

Glad to hear that he is doing well now. :)
 

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Hip dysplasia is a "multi-factorial" disease, meaning that it has many causes. However, Fillerbunny is correct about genetics being the biggest part. In dogs, rapid growth causes a lot of joint problems, so I suppose it could be true with cats as well.

As far as preventing arthritis, glucosamine sulfate (250 mg/day) in food is great; also a little vitamin C (ester C) will help prevent inflammation.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 
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