Hidden Problems in our Senior Cats

We met Lucky for the first time a year ago.  He was a bedraggled and poorly looking stray who had ventured into Mr. Seddons’ garden.  He was painfully thin at 2.3 kg, very thirsty and flea ridden with horrendous dental disease. Lucky is an elderly cat and many people would have given up on him at this point.  Mr. Seddon however, decided to do everything he could for Lucky.

We treated him for fleas and ran some blood tests. Luckys’ blood tests showed that he had hyperthyroidism.  This is a very common disease of senior cats which speeds up the metabolism causing weight loss despite, in most instances, a good to ravenous appetite. Fortunately for Lucky this is a very treatable disease.

We started Lucky on some tablets to treat his hyperthyroidism. With this and lots of TLC, Lucky stared to gain weight but was really struggling with a painful mouth due to severe dental disease. Once his weight had increased to 3.5kg and he was more stable for general anaesthetic, we had Lucky in for a dental and thyroidectomy to remove the larger of his 2 thyroid glands. He had all but 3 of his teeth removed due to cavities and dental disease.

Lucky did very well after the surgery. He now had a comfortable mouth and gained even more weight.  Unfortunately, his thyroid levels started to rise again and we had him in to remove his remaining thyroid gland.  Since then Lucky hasn’t looked back. He became the picture of health weighing in at 4.5kg (double his original weight a year ago) and has a beautiful, glossy and flea free coat.  A far cry from the bedraggled stray we met a year ago.

Thanks to the care and attention of a new and dedicated owner Lucky was now healthy, happy and content in his new home and really is a Lucky cat! More recently Lucky developed signs of heart problems and he is now, although still well in himself, being treated for right sided heart failure. Heart problems often arise as a consequence of hyperthyroidism in cats, especially if the thyroid disease is not treated.

Cats often do lose weight as they get older but there is always a reason for it. Although, unfortunately, there are some diseases of old age that we are unable to cure, there are also those (as in Luckys’ case) that we can treat or cure, e.g. diabetes.  If your elderly cat is losing weight, it is worth bringing him/her in for a check up. In fact there are many conditions of older cats often missed by clients who think sometimes that what they are seeing is just part aging. Sometimes cats slow down as they are older but sometimes this can be due to arthritis.

Our Nurses run a FREE SENIOR PET CLUB for dogs and cats over the age of 8. They will assess your pet, ask questions, offer FREE urine tests, discounted blood tests (the Vet will interpret these) and discuss a range of things you can do to offer optimum care for your older pet. They will include preventive health, dental hygiene, selecting an appropriate diet and will guide you on everything you need to to look out for or be mindful of. Every member receives a booklet and some ‘freebies’ as well as having ongoing checks and contact.