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Posted on 06-24-2015

Weight Change: A sudden gain or loss of weight may signal cancer, kidney and liver disease, hyperthyroidism and several other conditions. A gain or loss of 1-2 pounds in your cat is the equivalent of 10-20 pounds or more for us.

Change of Eating Habits: There are many possible causes for a change of eating habits. Cats are typically finicky so changing type or brand of food can definitely alter their eating habits. Another significant cause of changes in appetite is dental disease. It can be very difficult to assess your cat’s oral health, so if you have any concerns, we can evaluate your cat’s teeth and determine if there is cause for concern. Stressors such as changes in your schedule, very hot weather, moving, addition of new family member or loss of a family member may cause either an increase or decrease in food consumption. Diseases like hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease, viral diseases such as feline leukemia, gastrointestinal disease or cancer can cause changes in appetite.

Changes in Thirst Or Urination: An increase in thirst or urination may indicate kidney dysfunction or failure, liver disease, diabetes and other diseases.

Monitor Eliminations: If your cat is eliminating outside the litter box, if there’s a larger or smaller volume of urine or feces than normal, or if you see blood in urine or feces, we should see kitty as soon as possible. If your cat has vomiting with either of these signs, she should be seen as soon as possible.

Other Physical Signs:  Is your cat shaking his head or scratching her ears?  This can indicate infection, allergies, or parasites. Even though you think you might know what is causing the problem, it isn’t advisable to treat at home without an exam and consultation with your veterinarian.  If your cat has an infection and you treat for ear mites, you can make the problem worse. There are some medications that are not safe to use in the ear if the ear drum is not intact and without evaluating the ear drum with an otoscope, you cannot know for certain if the ear drum is healthy.

Does your cat have bad breath? Halitosis can indicate dental problems, lesions in the mouth, gastrointestinal disease or kidney disease. Please don’t wait to get kitty checked if you notice bad breath.

Has your cat started howling at night? Is there a change in the tone or loudness of the meow or purr?  These changes can indicate stress, pain, respiratory or throat issues, or mental confusion.

Does your kitty bump into things or seem uncertain in the house and their normal environment? These signs might indicate a sudden loss of vision which can be caused by many things like kidney disease, diabetes, infection or high blood pressure. Any visual changes or changes in how the eye looks is considered an emergency, so don’t wait. Call us or our emergency contact info right away to have your cat evaluated.

Is your cat sleeping more? It may not be “just getting older”. In a recent study, one of the most common causes of middle aged or older cats to be sleeping more was arthritis pain. Don’t let pain stop your cat from enjoying his senior years!

At least annual physical examination is recommended for all cats and can help identify an issue before it becomes actual illness.For cats over the age of eight or those with chronic disease, more frequent exams may be recommended.  During our examination, we will discuss our findings and provide recommendations to help keep your cat healthy and happy and a part of your family for as long as possible.  In many cases when we identify issues, we can alter diet, add in appropriate medication or herbal therapy and significantly slow the progression of disease.

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