Tips for Caring for Senior Cats

What to feed your senior cat?
There are many different diets that may be acceptable to feed a senior pet, which is highly dependant on your cat’s health status. It is important to perform senior blood work in order to pick the best diet for your cat. Some of the most common health conditions in older cats have specific diets formulated for them. These include kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, and many more.

Your veterinarian will be able to interpret the blood work to pick a food best suited for your pet. If they assess your cat to be healthy, they may recommend a balanced senior food or an adult maintenance diet. It is important to review the nutrition of a food with your veterinarian before you switch your cat onto it, as some senior foods can restrict certain components such as protein and phosphorus unnecessarily for your cat.

Why is my senior cat peeing on the floor?
There are many situations that can lead a cat to pee outside the litter box. There are certain diseases in older age that can cause a cat to drink and pee more. The most common of these are kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). There are many other possible causes as well, which can be assessed with senior blood work. These conditions require medical management to improve your cat’s quality of life. Another possibility is arthritis. As cats get older, especially if they are overweight, they often form arthritis in their joints. If the cat has to go down or up to stairs to get to a litter box, or if the box is very deep and the cat has a hard time jumping into it, they may choose to pee on the floor instead. On the other hand, if you notice that your cat is standing in the litter box but peeing outside the edges of the box, it may be because it hurts them to crouch down in order to pee in the box. For senior pets, it is ideal to have litter boxes on multiple floors of the house, and have boxes that are easy to walk into but with a higher back that they can pee against.

Why is my senior cat losing hair?
One of the most common causes of hair loss in senior cats is hyperthyroidism. This is where the thyroid gland overproduces thyroid hormone due to a benign growth on it. Other symptoms include drinking and peeing more, weight loss, and a ravenous appetite. Some other conditions that may cause hair loss are fleas or other parasites, food allergies, or environmental allergies. These can happen in cats of any age.

Why is my senior cat losing weight?
Many people notice that their senior cats may be losing weight. There are many different conditions that cause this. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a loss of muscle mass because old cats don’t move around or play as much. Other times there can be more significant causes of the common older cat diseases, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism.

Written by Heather Bassey, DVM

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Water Intoxication

Water Intoxication in Dogs

Does your dog like to play in the water? Too much of a good thing can be dangerous, so look out for water intoxication!Water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia is a relatively rare but potentially fatal condition that is most commonly seen in dogs that love to play in the water. Water games that involve retrieving items or diving into pools to catch toys can cause them to ingest large quantities of water very quickly. It can also happen when they “catch” pressurized water from sprinklers or hoses.Excessive amounts of water cause the body to lose sodium. The body's cells begin to fill with water and swell. If the cells in the brain swell, it can affect the central nervous system which can be fatal.Symptoms include:loss of coordination lethargy bloating vomiting glazed eyes excessive salivation difficulty breathing seizures comaWater intoxication progresses quickly so if your pet has been playing in the water and begins to show any of the signs mentioned above, it's crucial to seek veterinary care immediately to save your dog's life.Treatment of water intoxication typically includes IV delivery of electrolytes, diuretics and drugs to reduce brain swelling. With aggressive veterinary care, some dogs are able to recover, but sadly, many do not.It's important to closely watch dogs that are very active in water and ensure they take regular breaks in between playing. Be especially careful on days when the water is rough. If your dog empties their water bowl after playing hard or exercise, ensure they are rested before refilling the bowl.Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of water intoxication to keep your furry family member safe!If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 204-269-8162 or by email at info@centennialanimalhospital.com.Written by Centennial Animal Hospital

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