As cats age, they can experience a variety of diseases and conditions. Regardless of how common or rare the disease is, it's important to know what you're up against to treat your pet accordingly. The article list some diseases that you might encounter in senior cats.
Your cat may be aging, but that doesn't mean they can't still be happy and healthy. However, as your feline friend ages, they will likely develop some common diseases affecting their health and well-being. The good news is you can do things to help keep your senior cat feeling young at heart. Here are ten common diseases often found in senior cats and how to overcome them:
1. Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is the leading cause of death in cats, and it's important to be aware of the symptoms so you can help your cat as soon as possible.
Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. Your cat may also appear tired or lethargic all the time. If you notice any of these symptoms in your senior feline friend, then make sure that they see a vet immediately to start treatment options such as medication and diet changes. Vets usually prescribe Furosemide for dogs and cats for common kidney diseases in pets.
It's important not to punish your cat or isolate them from social interaction because they are going through something very serious health-wise. Instead, give your cat plenty of attention while making sure it gets what it needs. For example, you can introduce Hill’s Prescription Diet for kidney care for your feline friend for faster recovery from kidney issues.
Diabetes is a disease where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin that is produced does not work properly. Diabetes can cause serious health problems in cats, including kidney failure and blindness. It's a serious disease that requires lifelong treatment. However, if your pet has a higher level of diabetes, then your vet might start insulin for dogs or cats with immediate effect. It helps balance the insulin shortage that your pet cannot develop themselves.
If your cat has diabetes, monitoring their food intake closely and feeding them specific food types tested to help manage blood glucose levels is important. Hill’s Science Diet for diabetic cats can be an ideal option that you can introduce to their meals.
Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common health problems in older cats. It's caused by an overactive thyroid gland, which can be hereditary or caused by a benign tumor. Symptoms include weight loss, increased appetite, thirst, and urination. Hyperthyroidism isn't contagious, but it's still important to get your cat tested if you notice any changes in their behavior or appearance. Veterinarians usually recommend methimazole for cats as it effectively fights hyperthyroidism. It is a known tablet to reduce and balance the thyroid hormone levels in cats.
4. Cancer in Older Cats
Cancer is the number one killer of cats, so you should be aware of your cat's risks and how to deal with it. Cancer can affect all organs in the body and can show up at any age, but it's most common in older cats.
Cancer is caused by genetic predisposition, environmental factors, diet, or lifestyle. To help prevent cancer from developing in your pet:
Get him neutered. Neutering helps lower Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) transmission rates by lowering hormone levels that promote these infections' development. Additionally, this procedure also reduces aggression and territorial behavior, which can promote injuries to other animals or humans;
Keep your cat indoors. Exposure to pesticides increases cancer risks for outdoor cats;
Provide nutritious food or a balanced science diet. Avoid processed foods high in carbohydrates such as corn syrup solids or starches. Instead, opt for whole grains like barley flakes mixed with a little chicken broth.
5. Dental Disease
Dental disease is, in fact, the most common disease in cats. In this condition, plaque and tartar build up on your cat's teeth. It can lead to pain, infection, and heart problems. To prevent it, you must regularly brush your cat's teeth with specially formulated pet toothpaste or other products. Metronidazole for cats is also an effective medicine for gum diseases like stomatitis or gingivitis.
6. Heart Disease in Older Cats
Heart disease is the number one killer of older cats. Heart disease often results in high blood pressure, leading to a heart condition called cardiomyopathy. This condition causes damage to your cat's heart muscles and can lead to heart failure. Vets usually recommend administering Acepromazine to stabilize the heart rate and lower the blood pressure quickly in cats.
The signs of heart disease include coughing, difficulty breathing, weakness, and lethargy.
7. IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is not a specific disease but a group of diseases that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. The most common form of IBD is feline inflammatory bowel disease, which affects cats and causes vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. The condition is usually diagnosed when cats are between 4 and 8 years old.
Although you do not need to be a veterinary professional to recognize signs of IBD in your cat, vomiting large amounts at once followed by normal behavior for up to 24 hours after would be indicative. You must take him or her to the vet immediately if you suspect something more serious than food poisoning because it could lead to other health problems later. Alternatively, switch your cat's diet to Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Cat Food, which can relax your feline's stomach with an ideal formalized diet.
8. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a common medical condition affecting cats that a variety of factors can cause, including:
If left untreated or your cat does not respond well to treatment, FLUTD can lead to additional health issues like kidney failure and even death. Ursodiol for dogs and cats is an effective medicine that dissolves gallstones.
9. Liver Disease
Liver disease is common in older cats, and viruses or bacteria can cause it. Symptoms of liver disease include jaundice, vomiting, weight loss, and lethargy. Your veterinarian will perform blood tests to determine whether your cat has liver disease, then prescribe antibiotics if needed. If you want to prevent this condition from occurring in your older kitty's future, ensure he gets all recommended vaccines as a kitten before age one.
10. Osteoarthritis in Cats
Osteoarthritis in cats, or OA for short, is one of the most common diseases in older cats. It's estimated that up to 80 percent of all senior cats suffer from this condition.
The cause of OA is not completely understood, but it's thought to be due to cartilage degeneration within a joint. Cartilage is an essential shock absorber during movement and is therefore crucial for maintaining healthy joints.
Older cats are more prone to developing OA because their bodies produce fewer glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) than younger animals, GAGs being a key component in keeping joints healthy. Additionally, as we age, we lose muscle mass, reducing mobility and flexibility, which can further contribute to increased risk factors associated with this condition.
Our Aging Pets are Just as Susceptible to Health Problems as Humans
As our pets age, they are just as susceptible to health problems as we are. Some diseases of aging affect them more than we do because their bodies cannot cope with the same hurdles humans face. In addition to age-related disorders and common pet illnesses, senior cats may also suffer from arthritis and kidney failure.
Cat owners and animal lovers need to understand what causes these conditions and how they can be prevented or treated to ensure your pet enjoys a long and happy life.
The key to keeping your aging cat healthy is to keep up with regular veterinary exams and take them to the vet immediately if you notice any sudden changes in their behavior or appearance. In addition, pet owners must be proactive about their pets' health by feeding them a diet that meets all nutritional requirements for senior cats and providing adequate exercise opportunities when possible.
Lastly, it may be helpful for pet owners with chronic conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) because they understand what they are dealing with better than those without a similar experience or knowledge base.