If you have a cat that is a senior (11 years of age or older), you may be wondering what you can expect from them in their senior years. There are many health issues that affect senior cats more often than younger cats. These conditions can be life-threatening in some cases if not properly diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian. Get to know some of the senior cat health conditions to be aware of. That way, you can be sure to seek veterinary services right away if your senior cat exhibits signs or symptoms of any of these health conditions.
Gum and Dental Disease
One of the most common issues in senior cats is dental disease, especially gum disease. These conditions affect not only the mouth but your cat's overall health as well. If they have gingivitis, for example, bacteria can actually get into the bloodstream and affect other areas of the body like the heart. If your cat has difficulty chewing or eating, has foul breath, has visible dark spots on the teeth, has bleeding gums, or other such issues with their teeth or gums, take then to see the veterinarian right away. One of the veterinary services vets offer is dental care. The vet can sedate your cat and clean their teeth and gums. They can also give your cat antibiotics if necessary to resolve any infections.
Matted Fur and Skin Infections
As cats get older, grooming can be more difficult. They might not have the flexibility they once had and getting to all of the areas of the body just isn't possible for them. This results in matted fur and even skin infections from the matting. If your senior cat has developed matted fur, it is time for a trip to the veterinarian. The vet will examine your cat to look for any skin irritation, infection, or possible sores on the skin. Then, they can shave away the mats in your cat's fur. They can even give your cat a full cut if you would like to avoid future matting. If there are infections or irritation, topical and/or oral medication may be prescribed. The same goes for any open sores that may be present from the matted fur.
Another condition that commonly affects senior cats is hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism means that the thyroid glad is overactive, producing too much thyroid hormone. If your cat develops inexplicable weight loss issues, vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, increased appetite, increased thirst, and/or an unkempt coat, they could have hyperthyroidism. Your veterinarian can do a blood test to test the levels of thyroid hormone in your cat's body as well as run other tests and do an examination to diagnose this condition. Medication, special diet, and even surgery are options for hyperthyroidism in cats. Oftentimes, a veterinarian will start with the medication and diet route, and if those do not work, will opt for surgery.
Now that you know some of the conditions that can affect your senior cat and their symptoms, you can get your cat to the veterinarian's office if you suspect your cat may have one of these issues.