Annual feline vet visits will help make sure your four-legged best friend stays healthy. There will be times, however, when s/he exhibits signs that a doctor examination is needed. Here are four indications that your cat needs a vet visit:
- Increased thirst/urination – diabetes and kidney disease are two medical conditions that may cause cats to drink and urinate more than normal. Our doctors will test your furry friend for diabetes with a simple test that checks the concentration of sugar in the blood. We can also confirm diabetes by checking for sugar in the urine. When a cat’s blood and urine test positive for diabetes, the goal of treatment is to decrease the clinical signs, prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and stabilize body weight.
Kidney disease is the #1 cause of death in cats over the age of 10 and it’s estimated more than half of cats over the age of 15 have reduced kidney function. Kidney function is evaluated with an analysis of blood and urine tests. In addition, ultrasound images can provide valuable information about kidney size, shape and deformities that may contribute to kidney disease. Treatment can help improve blood and urine values so that a good quality of life is maintained.
- Weight loss – Diabetes or kidney disease can also cause weight loss in cats. A diabetic cat’s body cells aren’t always able to absorb glucose from the blood so the cells become starved of energy. To get the needed energy, the body breaks down protein and fat which results in weight loss. Cats with kidney disease may experience a buildup of waste products in their blood causing them to feel ill, lose weight, and act lethargic. As noted above, diabetes and kidney disease are easily diagnosed with blood and urine tests and treatment can help maintain a good quality of life for these patients.
Healthy teeth and gums play an important role in the ongoing good health of your cat. Periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent medical condition in cats three years of age or older. If left untreated, gingivitis (gum inflammation) or periodontitis (bone loss or gum recession around the teeth) can result in pain and related appetite loss. Our doctors will examine your cat’s mouth and teeth and may recommend a dental procedure to remove plaque from healthy teeth or to extract diseased teeth.
- Decreased activity level – Just like humans, cats can develop arthritis as they get older. Because they tend to hide signs of discomfort, this painful and progressive joint disease is not always top of mind for pet families. One of our vets will assess your cat’s movement and flexibility, determine if pain medication will be helpful, and – if appropriate – may recommend BRVC’s weight management program to help your cat achieve and maintain and healthy weight. If arthritis is determined not to be the cause of your cat’s decreased mobility, our doctors may also recommend bloodwork to identify other medical conditions that could contribute to a reduced activity level.
- Abnormal litterbox behavior – Kidney or liver disease, diabetes, vision loss, inflammatory bowel disease, and feline lower urinary tract disease are just a few of the medical conditions that can result in abnormal litterbox behavior. A complete exam, including diagnostic blood work and a urinalysis, will help determine if your cat’s unwanted litter box habits are medically related. If there is an underlying medical condition, we’ll determine which medication(s) may be curative or need to be used on a long-term basis.
If eliminating outside of the litter box is not medically related, we’ll review any household changes or additions, and may recommend additional litterboxes or experimenting with other litter brands. We’ll also recommend using Feliway, which contains pheromones that are clinically proven to have a calming effect and can also reduce anxiety.
Early detection is vital to slow disease progression so Fluffy has the best chance for a long, healthy life. Please call us today at (630)598-0600 to schedule an exam if you’ve noticed any of the four signs above.