The Geriatric Cat Checkup

Any cat over the age of seven should receive a complete veterinarian examination at least once a year, twice a year is often preferred. She should be seen by her veterinarian more often if her health is questionable, and if she shows any symptoms see should be seen immediately. Care for older cats is aimed at helping to prevent premature aging, minimize physical and emotional stress, and meeting their elderly special needs.

The yearly checkup for a geriatric cat should include a complete physical examination, a stool exam, a urinalysis, a complete blood count, and blood chemistries. Special liver and kidney function tests, a chest x-ray, and an electrocardiogram may also be needed depending on the results. A blood pressure check is included as part of the geriatric exam by some veterinary clinics as well. Checking thyroid hormone levels, such as T4, are also very important in older cats.

In older cats, kidney disease is relatively common and a simple urine test called Early Renal Disease Healthscreen (ERD) checks for protein leakage into the urine, specifically albumin. This test can help pick up kidney failure fairly early on so that steps can be taken to slow its progression.

Routine dental care, including scaling the teeth, for a geriatric cat is also important and may be needed more frequently than once a year.

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