Health problems can range from something minor to a major life threatening situation, and any sign of illness should be taken seriously. The following are some common health concerns.
What is Anemia? Anemia is caused by a low amount of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen through the blood and are vital to a cat's health. A serious and sometimes fatal condition, anemia can indicate another illness. Cats with this disorder become oxygen starved and have a decreased appetite, increased respiration and pale gums.
What about bad breath? Bad breath is a common sign of another ailment, which can include diabetes, cancer, tooth decay, or gum disease. If your cat has very bad breath, take him to the vet for a dental exam.
What about cancer symptoms? Cancer is abnormal tissue growth, and if left unchecked, it will spread throughout the body. Although cancer can occur at any age, it is a common cause of death in older cats. Symptoms are growths or lumps on the skin that get bigger, trouble swallowing, lack of appetite, weight loss, excessive thirst, difficulty breathing, lethargy, bad breath, and wounds that do not heal.
What about conjunctivitis? Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the inner eyelid. The lining of the eye may appear pink or red and swollen. Yellow discharge is a common symptom. If your cat has any eye problems, take him to the vet right away.
When your cat reaches eight years of age, start him on a preventive health care program designed for older cats. This includes a complete physical checkup twice a year, including a dental exam. The vet will be able to detect any significant physical changes, look for signs of illness, and make sure that your cat is current on all necessary inoculations.
Ask if your older cat should be started on a special diet. Pet food manufacturers have developed senior formula blends of dry and canned food. Based on your cat's overall health, your vet may recommend adding vitamin or mineral supplements to his food. They will help to boost the immune system as well as help the body absorb nutrients.
If you have any questions about your cat's health care needs as he ages, speak with your vet. She may make recommendations regarding lifestyle changes that could benefit him in his senior years.