As pets get older, they suffer from a variety of conditions including arthritis, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure and hypertension.
Symptoms commonly include stiffness and difficulty rising; problems climbing stairs; lameness or an awkward gait. If you think your cat is suffering from arthritis, contact your vet who will be able to advise you. A wide range of diets is available for senior pets, including speciality diets for cats suffering from arthritis.
Approximately 10 per cent of pets that visit vet practices are diagnosed with a heart condition. Symptoms to look out for include coughing (especially at night) and a decrease in appetite. If you think your cat is suffering from heart disease, it's wise to contact your vet who will be able to advise you on a diet and exercise regime. Your vet may also prescribe additional treatments to help prolong your cat's life.
Chronic Renal Failure
Chronic renal failure is a progressive, irreversible deterioration of kidney function. More common in middle aged to older cats, it can be caused by a number of factors including polycystic kidney disease, cancer, infections and toxic poisoning.
Symptoms include excessive urination, increased thirst, vomiting, drooling, dehydration, weight loss, halitosis, depression, mouth ulcers and stomach irritation. Cats do not always develop all the symptoms.
If the cause of chronic renal failure is diagnosed as a bacterial infection, treatment may be possible. In most cases, treatment is management of the disease. Diet management is very important in cats suffering from chronic renal failure. It's advisable to keep cats hydrated, feed moist foods and have plenty of water available to encourage drinking. Feeding a low protein and phosphate diet will reduce toxins in the bloodstream and ease the kidneys' workload.