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Animal Health Foundation Animal Health Foundation
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Wellness for Senior Cats

Cat-specific recommendations for maintaining optimum health
While many owners are tempted to forgo annual veterinary exams for their seemingly healthy cat, veterinarian Arlene Kim points out that veterinarians are trained to identify early warning signs of medical problems, such as dental disease, and provide vaccines that safeguard against many infections. Dr. Kim emphasizes the importance of comprehensive care, including heartworm prevention for all cats, keeping cats indoors where they are safe from predators and vehicles and feeding cats a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. WUPA-TV (Atlanta)(3/2)    

View AVMA's FAQ on caring for an older pet     

Proper nutrition helps prevent and treat disease
Maintaining a pet's optimal weight is essential to warding off disease, and food is an important tool veterinarians use to address illnesses in pets, including liver and kidney disease and allergies, writes veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus. Prescription diets are often used to combat diseases, and elimination diets are an important tool in determining the source of a pet's allergy. WebMD/Tales from the Pet Clinic blog(2/15)    

Dental care is essential to maintaining cats' health
The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that by age 3, 70% of cats will have developed gum disease. Veterinarian Lidja Gillmeister writes that this underscores the importance of routine dental care, including regular brushing with pet-approved products and dental cleanings by a licensed veterinarian. La Jolla (Calif.) Light(12/7)

Watch AVMA's video on how to brush your pet's teeth

Tumor risk from feline vaccines is low
Some feline vaccines have been associated with tumor formation in one in 10,000 cats, according to veterinarian Karri Miller. Veterinarians inject vaccines in specific locations to make treatment easier should a tumor arise, and task forces have developed ways to minimize the risk from vaccines. Vaccination is still in cats' best interest because the risk from deadly disease is greater than the risk of developing a tumor, Dr. Miller writes. The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.)(2/19)


Research shows weight, parasites are problematic for cats
Recent studies have found that roughly half of indoor cats are overweight or obese, which predisposes them to type 2 diabetes, behavior problems, arthritis, cancer and even depression. In another study, researchers detected at least one parasite upon fecal examination in 50.9% of the cats tested, with Cystoisopora species and Toxocara cati topping the list at 21% each.

See AVMA's brochures on senior pets, available in English and Spanish

Arthritis affects cats, too
Osteoarthritis can occur in dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and even food animals, according to veterinarian Duncan Lascelles, professor of surgery and pain management at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. When cats have arthritis, they move less and stay closer to the ground, jumping less. Cats' pain also may prompt them to stop grooming themselves and using the litter box if the sides are too high, says veterinarian Marty Becker. ABC News(3/5)

Older cats are particularly susceptible to some conditions
The chances of developing an illness increase as cats get older and symptoms are often subtle, writes veterinarian Ann M. Anderson. Litter box usage problems and unexplained weight loss or weight gain can all be signs of an underlying disease. Enrichment in the form of creative, active and social play is also important to help keep a spring in a geriatric cat's step. The Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.)

Other News

Geriatric cats can develop kidney disease
WebMD/Tales from the Pet Clinic blog (3/2)     



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