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Video: Health And Veterinary Care Of An Aging Cat
Regular professional veterinary care is essential for the health of your aging cat. Vaccinations and periodic check-ups are not only important for kittens. Preventive measures can extend your cat's life for years. You, your cat and the veterinarian are the team that will definitely achieve its goal: give your pet many more years of full life.
Because we know that the earlier the diagnosis and treatment is started, the better the chances of success, many veterinary clinics have preventive care programs for aging animals. These programs include a combination of different tests and tests, such as blood, urine, stool, X-ray and ECG. Ask your veterinarian what tests your cat should have. Some of the tests, procedures, and tests recommended for older cats are described below.
Good health begins with conception. In some way, your cat's health is determined by the health of her father and mother. Vaccinations, proper nutrition, dental care, deworming all have an impact on your cat's health. The healthier a young cat is, the more likely it is to remain healthy as it matures.
Weight and nutrition. Weigh your cat at each visit to the vet. The first sign of illness may be rapid weight gain or weight loss. The dosage of many medications is based on the weight of the animal, which is why it is important to know it. If the animal's weight changes, consult your veterinarian about changing the dose of medication or nutritional supplements. If you are concerned about your cat's weight or appetite, consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will recommend what to feed your cat and what supplements to give her based on her weight and health. The digestive system of older cats does not respond well to sudden changes in diet. If you need to make adjustments to your cat's nutrition, do it gradually, over the course of a week, gradually adding new food to the old one.
Medical card. A medical record is one of the main tools of a veterinarian. The entries in it are a valuable aid in making the correct diagnosis. Only she can answer the questions "When did this symptom first appear?", "How did the condition change?", "Is the symptom periodically or constantly observed?"
Medical checkup. Aging cats need regular checkups. How often you do this depends on your cat's health, but at least once a year. Some cats should be taken twice or more for a check-up. Tell your veterinarian about all your observations. If you do not understand what your veterinarian is doing during the examination, ask questions.
Examination of teeth and oral cavity. A physical exam includes examining the mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, and throat. Depending on the nature of the cat, this is either easy or almost impossible. Teaching your cat to open its mouth from childhood will be a very useful skill as it grows up.
Ophthalmic examination. As the cat gets older, regular eye exams are recommended. Any changes in the eye area may indicate either a disease of the eyes themselves or diseases of other organs.
Hair care. During the examination, your veterinarian will assess the condition of your animal's skin and coat. Baths, additional treatments, nutritional supplements, or tests may be recommended.
Control of the presence of ectoparasites (external parasites). The physical examination should include examining the skin and ears for any signs of external parasites, fleas, ticks, and lice. Your veterinarian will recommend remedies for these parasites or treatment if parasites are found.
Control of the presence of endoparasites (internal parasites). It is necessary to regularly analyze feces for the presence of intestinal parasites. Examining the fur around the anus will help determine if the cat has tapeworms. Your veterinarian will recommend which anthelmintic drugs to use.
Prevention of dirofilariasis. How often to get tested for pathogens of dirofilariasis in the body depends on how often this disease occurs in your area and whether the cat has symptoms of it. Check with your veterinarian for preventive measures to take.
Vaccination. Since the immune system of an aging cat is not the same as in its youth, it is very important to vaccinate in a timely manner. Check with your veterinarian about the vaccinations your cat should receive.
Analysis of urine. Many veterinarians recommend urinalysis on older cats as it can provide information about the cat's health. It is not difficult to take a sample and the analysis can be carried out directly in the veterinary clinic within a short period of time. If you notice any changes in color, smell, or the amount of urine, if you see your cat having difficulty urinating or is incontinent, it is very important to get tested.
General blood analysis. There are many different blood tests available. A general blood test includes tests that assess its cellular composition.
Blood chemistry. There are many analyzes for elements, enzymes, proteins, hormones, metabolic products and blood electrolytes. They can be used to diagnose diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease and some hormonal diseases. How often this test is done depends on your pet's health.
Analysis for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus. Older cats are susceptible to feline immunodeficiency virus and leukemia. All cats diagnosed with this virus require special attention to health, a special vaccination schedule, frequent dental examinations, and other procedures.
ECG. It is quite easy for cats to have an electrocardiogram. Now there are new cordless appliances that can simply be squeezed against your cat's side. The ECG appointment depends on the results of your cat's physical examination (whether it has a heart murmur), the age, breed of the cat, and any signs of heart disease.
Analysis for thyroid hormones. This test is recommended by your veterinarian based on the physical examination, the breed of the cat, and any signs of insufficient or excess thyroid hormone. Cats with thyroid problems should be tested regularly for hormone levels.
X-ray. X-rays are recommended if the cat has signs of heart, lung, kidney, liver, or gastrointestinal disease. As a cat grows older, it is helpful to have chest and abdominal images taken while the cat is healthy. When comparing them, you will see the changes that have occurred in the body during the illness. X-rays are often done in cats that have had cancer to keep the disease under control.
Examination before anesthesia. In older animals, the risk of adverse reactions to anesthetics increases. In cats that will be subjected to anesthesia, the activity of the kidneys, liver, blood components and electrolytes should be checked. It is much better to know in advance about an existing disease than to detect it when the animal is on the operating table. If any health problems are found for the cat, the operation requiring anesthesia should either be postponed, or a different type of anesthetic should be chosen, or another method of performing the required procedure should be chosen.
New methods of treatment and diagnosis. In veterinary medicine, new methods of examination are becoming more accessible, which take less time, are performed under local anesthesia and are less painful. These include laser surgery, endoscopy, ultrasound, and electrosurgery. It is an excellent alternative for those cats whose health problems cannot be solved with traditional remedies.
Blood pressure monitoring. Until recently, the measurement of blood pressure in animals was a very laborious procedure, not available in many veterinary clinics. New devices have made this task easier and now in any veterinary hospital it is possible to measure blood pressure of an animal.
Pain control. It is best to consult your veterinarian and veterinary literature on controlling pain in animals. Various medications are now available to help older cats cope with pain.
How to deal with the pain of loss through animal death or euthanasia. Very often, people who do not want their hopelessly sick pets to suffer or if there is no money to pay for further veterinary treatment choose euthanasia. Before starting this procedure, it is useful to discuss with the veterinarian the process of putting the animal to sleep: who of the family members will be present during this procedure, where and when it will be performed, how family members will be able to say goodbye to their pet, how and with whom they will spend time immediately after euthanasia, and others important details.
Some veterinary clinics now have home hospices. They are designed to provide home care for terminally ill animals. This is necessary when the family needs more time to get used to the idea of the inevitable death of their pet, or to give time for family members living far away to come to say goodbye and provide moral support to the owners of the dying pet.
Older animals need regular veterinary care to prevent the disease or get it diagnosed early. Many veterinarians have special surveillance programs for older cats. The union of the veterinarian, the cat and its owner will help the cat to extend its years of life. At the end of your cat's life, your veterinarian will help you make a decision, provide support, understanding, and share your grief.