Knowing the basics of the aging stage or feline geriatrics of our cat is too extensive to concentrate on an article. Therefore, our intention is to provide basic information to owners of older cats for the needs that arise during this vital phase.
Senior or geriatric cats are the largest number of patients who visit us in clinics and are also those who need more veterinary care. In cats from 8 or 9 years old they begin to show the changes that are generated with the natural aging process in their body as a vital adaptation response. In this new stage you can observe the diminution of the acuity of your senses, muscular-skeletal mobility, metabolic changes, etc. These are natural changes derived from cellular aging, therefore, our advisory work should be preventive and informative in order to reduce as far as possible the harmful effect of these alterations and be able to soften them and progress more slowly. In this way, life expectancy has increased between 12 and 15 years, especially for domestic cats.
The awareness and confidence of the owners is the key to develop preventive plans in senior cats, whose work begins when pets are puppies or young animals. It is then that we must inform so that preventive medicine is integrated into the mentality of the owners as part of the care that should be offered to your cat. The periodic visits to the veterinarian must have as purpose to know the state of health of our patients, to later apply the appropriate preventive measures: vaccines, deworming, offer the nutritional advice, behavior etc.
WHAT SHOULD INCLUDE THE BASIC CLINICAL RECOGNITION OF A SENIOR CAT?
- Complete clinical examination by organic systems: skin, ganglia, eyes, ears, mouth, genitals, abdomen, chest, musculoskeletal examination, weight and body condition, chest monitoring, etc.
- Collection of data and information with the owner (anamnesis)
- Blood analysis: complete blood count, basic biochemistry
- Urine analysis with density, up and sediment.
- Retrovirus test (feline leukemia / feline immunodeficiency virus), if in a risk group.
- Blood pressure measurement
- X-rays of the chest and abdomen
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Other tests: tt4 thyroid assessment, proBNP heart disease marker
With all these data we can recognize and control the risks that patients may have, detect diseases in more early or early stages and thus, be able to offer measures or therapies aimed at correcting the abnormalities found in older cats that can be alleviated and delayed in the time, with the aim of offering a better quality of life and improving the health of our feline friend.
MAIN DISEASES OF SENIOR CATS
Elderly cats are more likely to develop and develop the following diseases:
- Bronchopathies: chronic bronchitis and feline asthma
- Herpesvirus rhinosinusitis
- Pleural effusion: various causes
Heart diseases: High blood pressure
Dentistry: periodontal disease, reabsorptive lesions (false caries), oral neoplasms, feline gingivostomatitis
- Chronic intestinal disease, lymphomas, megacolon
- Vomiting and diarrhea due to various causes
Hepatopathies: cholangitis, cholangiohepatitis, lipidosis
Chronic or acute pancreatopathies
Chronic kidney disease
Endocrine disorders: diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, acromegaly, hyperadrenocorticism, etc.
Infectious and parasitic diseases:
- Hemoplasmosis (haemobartonellas)
- Retroviruses (leukemia, immunodeficiency), coronavirus (pif)
- Joint disorders and musculoskeletal pain that can lead to osteoarthritis.