Senior Cat Veterinary Care

Senior cat veterinary care usually involves preventative treatments, along with close monitoring. As felines age, certain changes take place and it is important that pet owners take the proper steps to help their geriatric cats adapt.

Senior Cats and Arthritis

Many senior cats experience arthritis, especially those who suffered from trauma to their joints when they were younger. As the disease progresses, it can cause stiffness and decreased mobilization. Most arthritic senior cats benefit from receiving gluocosamine and chodroitin, which can be prescribed by your veterinarian. These supplements can help to support the cat’s healthy joints. Unlike dogs, it is not recommended for arthritic cats to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease their arthritis-induced pains because they are extremely sensitive to those types of medications. Some cats can become extremely ill if they ingest those medications. Your veterinarian can perform radiographs on your cat if arthritis is suspected.

Dental Disease in Senior Cats

Most older cats will eventually develop some type of dental disease. In fact, about 70 percent of geriatric cats exhibit gum disease. Brushing your cat’s teeth and visiting your feline’s veterinarian for routine dental exams can prevent this change. Cats who do not receive proper dental care can eventually experience life-threatening problems, as the bacteria on the teeth and gum line can enter the blood stream, sending toxins to the heart and other organs. Dental check-ups and professional cleanings can help prevent dental disease in your geriatric cat.

Decreased Kidney and Liver Function

Kidney disease is a common condition that affects many geriatric cats. As the cat ages, the kidneys age as well, which can cause problems for older felines. Blood and urine tests can be performed to check the values of your cat’s kidneys and should be done as part of your geriatric cat’s preventative care. Blood tests can diagnose kidney problems earlier on than physical signs. Cats who have kidney disease will often drink more, but this symptoms usually doesn’t occur until the kidneys have lost 70 percent of their function. Routine preventative blood work should also be performed to monitor the liver values. The liver’s ability to detoxify the blood and produce enzymes and proteins starts to decrease as a cat ages. Preventative blood work is important as many cats who have liver disorders appear perfectly healthy.

Decreased Heart Function and Lung Capacity

Routine examinations are important for geriatric cats in order to monitor their hearts and lungs. As cats age, their heart’s ability to effectively pump blood throughout the body decreases. In addition, your cat’s lungs start to lose their elasticity and their ability to oxygenate the blood becomes decreased as well. Furthermore, older cats may be prone to respiratory infections and those with asthma may develop more severe signs of the disease. Your cat’s veterinarian can listen to the heart and lungs and perform radiographs on the chest if concerned. Early detection of certain heart and lung problems may prevent more serious conditions later on.