As our pets age their risk of developing chronic diseases of different body organs increases. At age 7 we consider cats to be seniors and your veterinarian will recommend health screening diagnostics just as your human doctor would. Senior cats ideally would have a full physical examination, blood pressure, blood cell count, blood chemistry panel, urinalysis, and thyroid gland testing done every 6 months. A physical exam allows us to pick up on things that your pet may not be showing or telling you– such as a new heart murmur, changes in the size of their kidneys or liver, new growths or lumps, or pain or abnormalities when we palpate certain abdominal organs or joints. Diagnostic tests give us increased odds of diagnosing some common senior cat conditions such as hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), chronic kidney or liver disease, urinary crystal formation, hyperthyroidism, and many others before these conditions have resulted in clinical signs that you the owner may note at home.
Catching many of these conditions early hopefully allows us to limit secondary complications. An example of catching hypertension early may allow us to avoid the high blood pressure hurting other internal organs like the kidneys. Diagnosing and treating hyperthyroidism early may help us to limit injury to the kidneys, heart, liver, and other organs, etc. Treating many chronic senior pet conditions early will not only help to hopefully extend your cats lifespan but also it’s quality of life.