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Cats can live an astonishingly long time -- the record is 38 years -- but there's no guarantee that those extra years will be healthy ones. If your cat is getting on in years, you need to be aware of the special health and wellness challenges that older cats face. Here atEdmonton South Animal Hospital, our skilled veterinary team can provide senior feline care services, from regular wellness checks to treatment of age-related diseases, to help your cat enjoy this stage of his life.
Cats generally make the transition from middle-aged to geriatric between age 7 and age 10. During this period the metabolism may slow down, aches and pains may develop and other age-related issues may manifest themselves. These may include weight loss and reduced appetite (possibly due to a faltering sense of smell) or, on the other side of the scale, obesity caused by arthritic joints that discourage activity. Older cats are at increased risk for heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. They're also vulnerable to dental problems; in addition to periodontal disease and tooth damage, your senior cat may suffer from an odd condition known as tooth resorption, an erosion of the enamel below the gum line.
In addition physical problems, a senior feline may exhibit behavioral changes. While most cats try to hid any sign that they're in pain, senior cats afflicted with chronic pain conditions may display aggression. Incontinence may be due to physical problem, or it may be related to dementia.
Dr. Tan, Dr. Mills and Dr. Awadin at Edmonton South Animal Hospital will do everything in their power to help your aging cat enjoy optimal health and wellness. We may recommend that you bring your cat in for two or more wellness exams per year instead of the usual annual visit sufficient for younger animals. This allows us to perform more frequent visual and manual inspections, blood and fecal testing and other evaluations to help detect age-related killers such as cancer or organ failure.
If your senior cat suffers from pain and stiffness due to osteoarthritis or another degenerative orthopedic condition, we can prescribe treatment options such as medication, laser therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic care. Internal disorders may call for dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, and medications to help regulate systemic functions or surgery to remove tumors or stones. We can perform more frequent dental evaluations and cleanings to help keep periodontal disease in check. If your cat is having too much dental pain to eat properly due to tooth wear or resorption, an extraction may be in order to help hi enjoy his food and take in much-needed nutrients.
You can't turn your senior cat into a kitten again, but you can make sure he enjoys a high quality of life. Call Edmonton South Animal Hospital at 780.989.5595 to schedule a senior feline exam.