Common Health Concerns in Senior Cats

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Senior cats are those above ten years of age, and as is the case with all species, aging in cats brings its fair share of health concerns. It’s difficult for even the most loving pet parents to identify serious signs of illness in cats simply because they are pros at hiding their discomfort. Regular vet check-ups are recommended for senior cats, and pet parents should be aware of health concerns at this age. 

Arthritis

Scraping of bones against each other due to wearing of cartilage around the joints may be due to genetic factors, excess weight, or prior injury. The pain will make your cat less active, unable to reach elevated surfaces or jump, seem stiff while standing or walking, and may even result in peeing elsewhere if the litter box has raised sides. It is possible to prevent its progression and relieve your cat’s pain, so watch out for these signs!

Kidney disease

Kidneys function to remove waste products from the body through the process of elimination. Acute kidney failure in cats results from the ingestion of poisons, while chronic kidney failure is generally what senior cats experience. The failure of the kidneys results in a build-up of waste in your cat’s blood, increasing thirst, the volume of urine, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight. Early detection can add quality years to your cat’s life.

Hyperthyroidism

Excessive secretion of the thyroid hormone occurs in this disease, making cats lose weight, become more active, thirsty, and hungry. It can even result in nausea, diarrhea, and more serious concerns like heart disease and hypertension if left untreated. Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, can eventually result in congestive heart failure.   

Cancer

Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer in cats, where there is swelling of the lymph nodes. Gastrointestinal forms of cancer are also common, affecting the stomach and intestines. If your cat shows signs of weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, and has unusual lumps, contact your vet immediately!

Dental disease

Gingivitis, a disease of the gums, develops into periodontal disease, characterized by red, swollen, bleeding gums and bad breath. Swelling in the mouth can also be accompanied by ulcers in a condition called stomatitis. The pain makes it difficult to eat and can result in weight loss and lethargy. Dental clean-ups and oral care practices will help protect your cat.

Diabetes mellitus

Increased blood glucose levels in diabetes can result from being overweight or having a sedentary lifestyle. Remission is possible with early detection, diet change, and insulin shots, but lifelong injections will become necessary if remission fails. Monitor your feline friends closely – it could keep them with you for longer.