Tag Archives: senior

Senior Blood Tests: The full picture

What is he trying to tell you?

What is he trying to tell you?

After so many years by our side, we tend to come to a special understanding with our pets. Many of you would say that you know what your dog wants by a certain tone of bark, or that your cat can tell you exactly when dinner time is without needing a clock, but do you know what they’re trying to tell you about their health?

Why are they drinking more than they used to? Why are they losing weight, despite eating the same amount of food (or sometimes more)? Is it normal to be this lethargic as they get older? Why are they vomiting more frequently? Why is their coat different?

They may not be able to tell you directly, but they can tell us a lot of information with a physical exam and blood test. Looking for these conditions before our pets are sick means we can do more to prevent clinical illness and help them live happier, longer lives. The parameters we routinely test on blood include:

  • Blood glucose, as an indicator for diabetes mellitus.
  • Urea, Creatinine and Phosphorus as an indication of kidney function.
  • Various liver enzymes and Bilirubin related to liver function and some hormonal conditions, eg Cushings Syndrome.
  • Cholesterol, Calcium and other electrolytes as they relate to a number of conditions
  • Haematology, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets as they may relate to anaemia, infection, inflammation, immune mediated conditions or even certain types of cancers.

Many of these conditions will only have subtle outwards signs until the pet is quite sick. Also, most pets will enjoy a better quality of life if these conditions are detected early, some may even avoid a stay in hospital if their medical conditions are detected early enough.

Talk to one of our staff about running a blood profile for a senior pet before they show outward signs of disease, and how early detection can help improve their quality of life.

Arthritic Cats

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On these overcast winter days I’d be content to wrap up and snuggle down inside under a cosy blanket and just sleep until spring time.

Cats excel at finding a comfy place to curl up and sleep, and in this weather I can’t blame them. However, if your cat is sleeping more it may be a sign that they are suffering from arthritis.

There are two sorts of pain that we and our feline friends can experience; acute and chronic pain. While a cat may cry out or limp with acute pain, many cats experiencing chronic pain attempt to hide it as a survival instinct. As such the symptoms of chronic pain can be much more subtle as cats attempt to not draw attention to themselves. It is estimated that 33% of senior cats have arthritis and the associated chronic pain. If you have an older cat then the following are signs to look out for.

cat feline arthritisArthritic cats are more reclusive, less willing to play and more inclined to sleep than cats that are not experiencing arthritic pain. They are often less interactive and may be less tolerant of being petted.cat feline arthritis

cat feline arthritis jumping

 Arthritic cats are less willing to jump. While they certainly can jump, you may get the distinct impression that they really don’t want to. They will often look for an alternative way down, such as jumping onto a chair or half way point to get down.

cat feline arthritis

Some cats will be reluctant to use stairs or go up steps. They often show a preference to stay inside, even when they used to love being outdoors. Some experience such pain that they will only walk from cushion, to food bowl, to litter tray and back.

Arthritis may even prevent an older cat from being able to use their litter tray, with some being unable to climb in or correctly position themselves and so they may have ‘accidents’ on the edge of the litter tray or nearby.

Our senior cats don’t have to live with chronic pain. There are a range of different ways that we can increase their comfort and improve their quality of life. Modifying their environment so that they can use steps and litter trays which are more accessible, supplementing their diet with glucosamine and related nutraceuticals, and the administration of prescription pain relief medication all form part of a multi-modal pain management plan.

Please note human pain killers, especially panadol/paracetamol are HIGHLY TOXIC and potentially lethal to cats.

If you think your cat may be showing signs of arthritis please contact us on 97987723.

(c) Popitz

written by Dr Mary Parker