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Common Illnesses in Older Cats

Your cat ages at a much faster pace than we humans do. Annual physical exams when they seem “normal” at home may seem frequent, but when you consider the average lifespan of a cat, one year is a long time for them. Yearly exams are especially important in senior cats, as it gives us your cats “normals” and a chance to detect any potential problems earlier. Here is a rough guideline for cat-human years.

  • 8  years old: 46 year old human
  • 10 years old: 54 year old human
  • 15 years old: 74 year old human
  • 20 years old: 94 year old human

Your cat’s health and lifestyle changes with age. Much like humans, their senses started to wane (hearing, smell, sight).  They slow down a bit and spend more time lounging in the sun. How do we know if they are “slowing down” or they have an illness? Cats are masters at hiding illness.  They often do not show any signs until they are very sick. So what do we do?

Some of the more common illnesses that we see in older cats are hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, arthritis, dental disease, and gastro-intestinal issues. Symptoms of these disease processes can overlap, so there are some subtle things you can watch for at home, that may indicate your cat needs to be seen by a Veterinarian.

  • Weight Loss/feel bony along the spine
  • Weight loss is not normal in an older cat if your cat is not actively on a weight loss program
  • Increased appetite/decreased appetite
  • Drinking more water, urinating more
  • Not jumping/moving around as much
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

If you notice any of these signs in your cat, they should be evaluated by a Veterinarian. After a full physical exam, it’s most likely that we will recommend bloodwork at that time as it’s the best way to screen for most of these issues. We will then work together to come up with a plan that works best for you and your pet, to ensure we make their senior years as long and as happy as possible!

By Dr. Ashley Ellsworth

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Last updated: September 13, 2021

Dear Clients,

The province of Nova Scotia will enter Stage 5 of the COVID re-opening plan on September 15. Here is what Stage 5 will look like at Clayton Park Veterinary Hospital:

  • Masks are required for all clients entering our hospital, as well as for all our staff
  • Telemedicine appointments are available to anyone who cannot wear a mask inside our hospital
  • 1 client per exam room allowed (exceptions will be made for end of life procedures)
  • Credit cards are the preferred method of payment
  • Curbside pickup of food and medication is still available. Please call ahead of time so that we can have your order ready upon your arrival. A reminder that we require 48 hours notice for food and prescription orders. To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
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    Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Sunday: Closed

    NEW PET OWNERS

    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Clayton Park Veterinary Hospital