The Golden Years: Feline age-related disease symptoms to watch for

Changes in Water Consumption

A change in water consumption can indicate several life-threatening conditions. These include diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and dehydration. These conditions are treatable or curable if discovered early and treated appropriately. Early diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, one of the most common conditions of older cats can extend their lives by years.

Changes in Urine Production

If your cat drinks from several sources, you may not notice a change in water consumption. Changes in urine production will be noticed in the litter box and can indicate all the serious problems listed above.

Constipation

Man cats experience constipation as they grow older. A change as simple as a new diet that is higher in fiber may be all that it takes to make your senior cat more comfortable. Constipation can also be a symptom of more serious conditions. Anal gland pain, bowel disease, and kidney disease can all cause constipation.

Increase in Frequency of Urination

Some cats may begin to urinate smaller amounts more frequently. Some may even cry during urination or urinate outside the litter box. Older cats can be more susceptible to bladder infections, and because their immune systems are not as vigorous as they used to be, these bladder infections can progress to more serious problems.

Change in Appetite

An increase or decrease in appetite can indicate disease in your older cat. Many people associate a decreased in appetite with normal aging. Cats do not necessarily eat less as they get older. They do eat less with sever periodontal disase and dental abcesses because their mouths hurt. Some cats will also salivate, eat only on one side, refuse dry food, or paw at their mouth when they are experiencing dental pain. They also eat less when they don’t feel well because of kidney or liver disease.

Weight Loss

Unless they are ill, cats do no necessarily lose weight as they age. Some cats will loose muscle mass and tone as they age, especially if they are less active. If your cat is losing weight, it is important that we find out why. Hyperthyroidism, a very treatable condition, is one of the most common causes of weight loss in older cats.

Vomiting or Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are both symptoms of many illnesses in older cats. They can signal that your cat has hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or even cancer.

Lethargy and Depression

It is normal for cats to gradually become less active as they get older, but an abrupt change in activity is reason for concern. Hiding, constant sleeping, and loss of interest in life can all be symptoms of serious disease. A change in behavior toward family members may also be cause for concern.

(The following part of the article is applicable to the veterinarian’s office this originated from. Feel free to request the same examination of your cat from your own veterinarian!)

The Golden Age Physical was designed to offer your cat the gift of the longest, healthiest life possible. The program’s major objective is to uncover early warning signs of disease, thereby preventing unnecessary pain and suffering. At the same time, the owner will enjoy more happy, healthy years with their companion and avoid medical expenses cause by future preventable illnesses.

When our feline friends reach the age of 10, they enter their senior or “Golden” years. Medical problems that can affect these special cats are kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, dental disease, liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Though these same diseases are diagnosed in younger cats, their incidence increase once your cat reaches senior status. Many of these conditions can be controlled or even prevented with early diagnosis and treatment. This is where the Golden Age Physical makes a difference in your cat’s life.

If a risk factor for disease is diagnosed with the Golden Age Physical, we can then intervene with preventative therapy. If warranted, appropriate medical treatment is started before your cat is showing signs of illness. Our feline friends are very stoic creatures and sometimes do not show signs of illness until they are very ill.

The programs is a group of noninvasive diagnostic test and procedures chosen to provide the most pertinent information about your “senior” friend’s health at an affordable price.

After your cat’s visit with us for the Golden Age Physical, we will have the result within 24 hours. Please call the office to discuss the results with your doctor.

Included in the Golden Age Physical:

Complete Physical Examination: Doctor’s examination of your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, musculature, lymph nodes, internal organs, heart, lungs, and extremities. A complete dental examination is performed as part of the physical exam. Untreated dental disease can lead to mouth and gum infection, systemic infection, and heart of kidney disease.

Complete Blood Cell Count: The complete blood counts helps in the diagnosis of bacterial and viral infection, anemia, and other abnormalities of the blood.

Serum Chemistry Profile: A blood chemistry profile screens how well individual organs are functioning and indicates the presence of disease. Abnormal results suggest systemic disorders such as diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease.

Thyroid Hormone Test: This is used to evaluate thyroid gland function. Hyperthyroidism is a very common, treatable, potentially life-threatening disease of older cats.

Complete Urinalysis: It is used as an index of kidney function and an all-purpose screen for systemic disease and infections. The presence of blood, crystals, and bacteria in the urine may indicate infection, stones, or lower urinary tract disease.

Complete Fecal Analysis: Used to detect parasites and parasite eggs, this microscopic examination may reveal unusual bacteria and protozoa, and blood cells.

Blood Pressure Determination: As cats age, hypertension becomes more common. In the cat, hypertension is associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, and stroke.

A fecal analysis and blood pressure will only be performed if the doctor deems it necessary for your cat.

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