BACKGROUND: Feline degenerative joint disease (DJD) is common and there are no approved therapies for the alleviation of the associated pain.

OBJECTIVE: To test a diet high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content and supplemented with green-lipped mussel extract and glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate (test-diet) for its pain-relieving and activity-enhancing effects in cats with painful, mobility-impairing DJD over a 9-week period.

ANIMALS: Forty client-owned cats.

METHODS: Randomized, controlled, blinded, parallel group, prospective clinical study. Cats with no detectable systemic disease, and with at least 1 appendicular joint with radiographic evidence of DJD where manipulation elicited an aversive response were included. Cats were randomly allocated to the test-diet or control diet (C-diet). Outcome measures were subjective owner and veterinarian assessments, and objective activity monitoring (accelerometry). Nonparametric statistics were used to evaluate changes within and between groups for both subjective and objective data, and locally weighted scatterplot smoothing regression analysis was used to predict activity changes.

RESULTS: The primary objective outcome measures indicated that activity declined significantly (P < .001) in the C-diet group, significantly increased (P < .001) in the test-diet group and there was a significant difference between the groups (P < .001).

CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: A diet high in EPA and DHA and supplemented with green-lipped mussel extract and glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate improved objective measures of mobility. Dietary modulation might be 1 method to use to improve mobility in cats with DJD-associated pain.