Preventative medicine for older cats

Cats are very secretive creatures and are very good at hiding early signs of ill health, which if caught early enough, can be managed much more efficiently. Diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disease and hypertension are relatively common diseases that can be present for some time before clinical signs are noticed and left untreated can lead to permanent organ damage. Often the first sign of a problem in cats is irreversible organ damage, most commonly to the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes. This means routine screening is an essential part of preventing some of these problems.

At St Clair, we provide an annual health check free of charge with every booster vaccination. This clinical examination may highlight any areas of preventative care that may be required such as dental treatment or flea treatment but cannot see what is going on inside the cat.

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The International Cat Care (formerly the Feline Advise Bureau) recommends that all mature cats (over the age of 7) should have in addition to the annual health check, a urine test and blood pressure test carried out. These are non-invasive tests that can highlight that there is an underlying problem developing and can be carried out at the same time as your vaccination as part of a senior pet nursing clinic for only an additional £20.

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Senior cats (over the age of 11) should, in addition to the above, also have an annual blood screen to check underlying organ function. Geriatric cats (over the age of 15) should attend the practice every 6 months for blood pressure and urine testing in addition to the annual blood screen and health check to catch any underlying problems early.

Blood screening tests are more expensive and range from £50-150 depending on the test required. The veterinary surgeon at St Clair can often work with you and your budget to decide which blood test is going to be most important given the risk factors for your cat and that is usually determined by the results of the blood pressure and urine tests.

If you are interested in providing the gold standard of treatment for your cat as it gets older, make sure you discuss this with a member of staff at the practice and consider bringing a urine sample with you to any appointments that can be analysed to provide some baseline figures for your pet.

 
Rory Thomson BVMS MRCVS