2 The Green, Thurlby, PE10 0EB
T: 01778 420462
Market Deeping Practice
4 Stamford Rd, Market Deeping, PE6 8AB
T: 01778 380111, E: email@example.com
Market Deeping Practice
4 Stamford Rd, Market Deeping, PE6 8AB
T: 01778 380111
Health Checks In Older Cats
Cats are considered to be mature when they reach the age of 7 and elderly once they reach 11. Senior cats are defined as those aged 11-14 years of age and geriatric cats are those aged 15 years or more. When caring for older cats it sometimes helps to appreciate their age in human terms. The first two years of a cat’s life are equivalent to 24 human years and every year thereafter is equivalent to 4 human years. Therefore, a 16 year old cat would be equivalent to an 80 year old human.
‘Old age is not a disease’
Often a problem which you suspect is due to the advancing age of your pet may actually be the result of a treatable medical condition.
- A cat that has ‘slowed down’ may be suffering from arthritis or cognitive dysfunction.
- A pickier appetite may be an early sign of kidney disease or dental pain.
- Weight loss can be due to several conditions including kidney disease, diabetes or hyperthyroidism.
As cats get older there are changes to a cat’s physiology, behaviour and vulnerability to particular health problems. These include:
- Kidney disease
- Dental disease
- High blood pressure
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive Thyroid)
- Cognitive dysfunction (‘dementia’)
- Urinary tract infections
Many of these conditions do not show symptoms early in their course, and at this early stage are only identifiable through testing, and are likely to be progressive. The earlier a problem is detected the better it can be managed improving longevity and quality of life for your cat. Many common conditions can be diagnosed with a clinical exam and laboratory screening therefore regular Health Checks are advisable. These could be combined with your annual vaccinations. If you feel that your cat is actually showing signs of ageing or any symptoms of a problem, we would recommend booking an appointment.
We offer a “Wellness Package” which decreases the cost of initial screening tests. For more information please visit the Wellness Package for cats Page.
(Remember 3 months for a cat is like 1 year for a human)
For cats over 7-10 years old:
- Annual health check by a vet (this is already included as part of annual vaccination and health check)
- Annual blood pressure measurement
- Annual urine test
For cats over 11 years old:
- Six to twelve monthly health check by a vet
- Six to twelve monthly blood pressure measurement
- Annual urine AND blood test
With age, the nutritional requirements of your cat will change. Older cats are often less active, but also less efficient at absorbing and processing nutrients from their food meaning they may simply struggle to eat enough calories. We can recommend specially-prepared diets tailored to your cat’s individual requirements.
Royal Canin Senior Consult
- Stage 1 – for mature cats (greater than 7 years) without obvious signs of aging. Contains Vitality Complex – a range of antioxidants to reduce free radical damage and other ingredients to promote urinary / kidney health and mental activity.
- Stage 1 Balance – for mature cats without obvious signs of ageing and a tendency to gain weight – a lower calorie but high fibre version of Stage 1 to reduce appetite and limit energy intake.
- Stage 2 – for mature cats showing some signs of ageing. Contains the Vitality Complex (as above) as well as mobility support (glucosamine, chondroitin and green-lipped mussel extract).
- Stage 2 High Calorie – for mature cats showing some signs of ageing and a tendency to lose weight – as Stage 2 but with increased energy density and higher fat levels.
Common Health problems in older cats
Early detection and treatment can dramatically improve your cat’s quality of life and longevity.
Diagnosis is relatively straight forward and involves a urine test and a blood test.
Treatment includes a prescription food and a dietary supplement such as Pronefra and in some, but not all cases, tablets. Occasionally your cat may need to be hospitalised and placed on intravenous fluids.
Treatment options include:
- Joint supplements – chondroitin, glucosamine and essential fatty acids (EFAs)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
- Cartrophen injections – weekly for 4 week course, then every 6 weeks
- Environmental modification – for example making sure they don’t need to jump up high to reach their bed.
- Royal Canin Mobility food – contains green-lipped mussel extract, glucosamine and chondroitin
- Therapeutic laser
- Other pain relief medications. (DO NOT USE HUMAN MEDICATION AS MANY OF THESE DRUGS ARE TOXIC TO CATS! We have medications that are designed for long term use in cats, which are safe and well tolerated)
Dental disease is a very common problem in older cats. Signs can include reluctance to eat, dropping food, salivation, pawing at the mouth and bad breath. Often owners do not recognise the discomfort their pet has been in with a sore mouth until they see the change in their pets after treatment with increased activity and interaction.
Build-up of tartar on the teeth leads to sore gums and infection. A sore, infected mouth can lead to problems eating and infection can spread and cause disease in other organs such as the heart and kidneys. Infection in the mouth means that your cat is swallowing bacteria constantly which can also lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. Older cats need an increased calorific intake and so discomfort while eating will lead to weight loss.
There are many options available to improve the health of your cat’s mouth.
Initial treatment may involve a general anaesthetic to scale and polish teeth. Any diseased teeth may require removal. At Animates we offer a fixed price Dental Scale and Polish. See the following link for more information. Following this we can formulate a plan that suits you for on-going dental care. This may include brushing your pet’s teeth, special dental diets and treatments for the drinking water to reduce further problems.
High blood pressure
Hyperthyroidism (overactive Thyroid)
There are a number of effective treatment options following diagnosis. Most commonly we treat hyperthyroidism with oral medication which can keep the condition well controlled and improve your cat’s quality of life and longevity. There are other treatment options available that can be discussed with the vet including surgery, radioactive iodine therapy or a prescription diet.
Cognitive dysfunction (‘dementia’)
Your cat may show signs of being more restless, pacing behaviour, disorientation, vocalisation or a decrease in interaction with you. Your cat may also show signs of inappropriate toileting behaviour.
Specialised supplements (for example ‘Aktivait’) are available to help reduce free radical damage and improve nerve transmission in the brain. This helps to improve your cat’s energy and feeling of well-being.
Treatment usually involves twice daily insulin injections. The needles are tiny and often your pet won’t even feel them. A prescription diet can really help to keep the condition well controlled.