Consistent, professional geriatric cat care may help you relieve or prevent many of the elderly cat issues pets can experience. Here are some issues to watch out for...
Major dental work (preventative geriatric care) involves removing damaged teeth before root abscesses cause bigger problems.
Removing all the back teeth (keep the canines or long front teeth for face shape and defence) results in longer kidney life, reduced pain and much better breath!
Human periodontists have proved that taking out all the teeth of homeless people - whose dental hygiene is probably about the same as cats’ - results in a lot fewer trips to hospital, and much better heart health (the human weak point).
Cats are just as keen to stay away from hospital, and a ‘caudal clearance’ helps them to do that. There is no proven benefit to just polishing cat's teeth - and even if you brush them, they are just not designed to last.
And even cats with no back teeth can still CATch rats and mice - they just can't peel them! Learn more...
Your pet cat's urinary tract is effectively a separate organ and so the cat vet can't assess her health unless there is a sample.
Watch this video as Snowy helps me explain why feline urine is so important!
Kidneys are a cat’s weak point. 50% of cats die of kidney failure, and the other half die from cancer (with a few from heart problems). Now that there is so much more geriatric cat care we can do to help keep feline kidneys functioning for longer, the cats just keep on going!
I like to regularly check kidney function with urine tests and blood pressure measurements (yes, Dr Kim measures BP with pediatric cuffs and a special Doppler machine!). See it in action in the video below
The procedures are painless - the cats think it is strange but they rarely object. They must know it is for their own good! Managing blood pressure with drugs, and changing the diet to help the kidneys function better, has resulted in many venerable souls living a very high quality of life for many extra years!
The use of the prescription renal diets, plus the supplement Ipakatine (for the 'non-renal' meals) means cats can have their favorite food AND stabilize their kidney's workload!
For the chronic kidney and bladder infections that are one of the most common elderly cat health problems (and all species), the long-acting antibiotic injection (Convenia) is a godsend for felines - pretty effective and only one or two trips to the vet - not daily pills!
With a combination of these things, plus controlling Blood Pressure (with the same medications as people take! ), kidney function can be extended to nearly match that of a Kidney Transplant.
Now THAT'S something!
And sometimes the toughest question when you have a feline friend (whether for a long time or not): When is Enough Enough? The Final Parting is so hard.
Grieving for your pet outlines some of the considerations at this difficult time - and Dr Kim says: you can never be ready to let your feline friend go.
Sometimes, you just have to know that tomorrow is not going to be any better, and make the brave decision to euthanize.
Sometimes, in the end, you can only prevent suffering, and that is the greatest gift.