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Older cats are at significant risk for three diseases: kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes. The great news is that all three illnesses respond well to treatment, but you need to CATCH THEM EARLY.

 

Brookfield Animal Hospital offers a blood screen that identifies any one of these diseases.  Read on for more information on these and other old-age related illnesses, and then find out how you can get your cat safely and affordably screened for all of them!

 

 

Because we see so many cases of hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease in cats, we’ve written comprehensive handouts on each, the links for which you’ll find below.  But don’t try to diagnose your pet by yourself.  The best option for all owners of senior pets is a semi-annual checkup.  Our doctors have more than 95 years of collective veterinary medical experience.  We can spot disease at its earliest stages, provide your pet the treatment that he or she needs to stay well longer, reduce pain, and decrease or eliminate problems that cause both of you stress like mobility issues and bed wetting.  Contact us. We’ll be able to help.

 

 

 

Signs of The Big Three

Cats are extremely good at masking any signs of illness.  Typically, cats are significantly ill before they outwardly show any symptoms, but blood screens are much more sensitive at detecting disease.  All senior cats, beyond the age of 7, should have an annual blood screen, even if they appear to be perfectly healthy.

 

Here is a list of symptoms in senior cats that should definitely be checked by one of our vets, but keep in mind that any changes to the way your cat behaves, especially if it is a cat over the age of 7, is significant and should be evaluated.

 

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Pooping or peeing outside of the litter box
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • A matted look to your cat’s fur and fast growing, long toenails
  • Decreased appetite
  • General malaise

Honorable Mentions

 

These diseases might not have the notoriety of the big three, but they are significant enough to warrant mention.

 

Obesity

 

 

Fat cats may appear cute on the outside, but their insides are typically a mess. Overweight cats are more at risk for heart disease, kidney disease, and cancers.  They frequently suffer from grooming issues, joint problems, and general poor health.  If your cat is overweight, we can prescribe a safe, delicious diet that will keep your cat satisfied, yet still promote weight loss.  Use the contact form below to reach out to us for more information.

 

Dental Disease

 

All cats over the age of 3 suffer from some degree of dental disease and certainly if your cat is over the age of 7 and has never had a professional cleaning, he or she is likely to have advanced dental disease.  Advanced dental disease causes a host of problems some of which are listed below.

 

  • Loose, painful teeth
  • Infected gums
  • Infection of the blood or mild septicemia
  • Jawbone loss
  • Increased risk of oral cancer
  • Chronic mouth inflammation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased risk of heart and kidney disease

 

If your cat has significant dental disease, it is very likely that other signs that you are seeing such as a decrease in activity levels or appetite and depression are directly related to it.  Cats (and dogs) with advanced dental disease typically behave like they’re 5 years younger once they have had a dental cleaning and infection is eliminated from their mouth and body.  Use the link below to treat your cat’s dental disease today.

Cancer

 

It’s unfortunate that we don’t know why so many cats develop cancer as they age, but plenty of organizations including the NFP Morris Foundation are doing some interesting work in this area.  Cancer, like the other diseases mentioned above, is best diagnosed early, but can be more problematic to treat.  At Brookfield, the most common cancer in cats is lymphoma.  Signs of cancer in cats can include:

 

  • Weight loss
  • Skin lesions or skin discolorations
  • Masses
  • Mobility issues
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • General malaise

 

Never assume a mass is ‘just a fatty lump’ and certainly if you feel a hard mass on your cat it should be examined by one of our veterinarians without delay.  Lymphoma often causes changes with the way your pet eats or eliminates.  Don’t wait to see if these symptoms get better.  Schedule an examination.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Vet

 

Most pet owners don’t bring their cat to the veterinarian because the experience is scary for the cat and nerve wracking for the pet owner.  We have invested a significant amount of time training our staff to handle cats gently and creating an anxiety-free veterinary visit.   If you are concerned that your cat will be afraid or act aggressively while at our office, reach out to us.  We have a many solutions to make your cat’s visit more pleasant, including safe, mild, prescription medication when warranted.  We can provide you advice on how to get your cat into his or her carrier, how to keep your cat from getting car sick, and how to keep your cat calm from the moment you walk in our door.  Here’s the link to the form to get started.

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