The Older Cat: What all owners should know
This is a first in a series of blog posts discussing the most common medical concerns I have when examining the older feline.
Cats are masters of hiding disease. If you think there is a problem with your cat it is better not to wait…. It is best to at least have them examined
One of the biggest issues for the feline species in particular, is that they are masters at hiding the clinical signs of their diseases. They are stoic in nature, sleep the majority of the day and have the great ability to mask even major disease processes and pain. Many times owners are do not become aware of a problem until the disease process has developed into their final stage. I personally have a rule of thumb that I advise my clients: If you even think there is a problem with your cat there probably is one. In other words, detecting a problem with your cat can be difficult even for those who have a very close association or bond with their cats.
The goal of this and upcoming blog articles is not necessarily to inform about all the technical aspects of specific diseases, but to inform readers about what I consider would be the most salient and therefore most useful information that owners need to know.
First I would like to mention some of the more common clinical signs pets owners should watch for.
•Changes in weight, especially weight loss
•Increased water consumption
•Changes in elimination patterns (urine or stool)
•New lumps or bumps or swellings, or changes in existing ones
•Difficulty breathing or breathing heavily or rapidly at rest
•Sudden collapse or bout of weakness
•Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping
•Foul mouth odor or drooling
If I were to pick only two signs to watch for in the older cat it would be weight loss and increased consumption of water.
What happens as your cat grows older
Lastly In upcoming blogs I will be discussing the most common medical diseases in the older cat. These medical conditions are so common that they should be closely monitored for as a cat ages. As a practitioner, I am particularly focused on these problems in those cats older than 8 years of age (50 years of age in human years). I am hopeful that with this blog series many owners will come to not only understand these conditions, but also help owners be the first line in the detection of these problems.
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