Chicago Cat Clinic Services
Wellness and Preventative Medicine:
- Physical Examinations
- Recommended Vaccinations
- Intestinal Parasite Screening
- Microchip Implantation
- Nutritional and Weight Management Counseling
- Flea and Heartworm Preventatives
- Behavioral Consultations
- Spay and Castration
- Dental Cleanings, Extractions, and Dental Radiography
- Mass/Lump Removals
- Exploratory Abdominal Surgery
- In hospital CBC, Chemistry, and Thyroid Testing
- Access to Additional Diagnostic Testing through reference lab
- Digital Radiography
- Board Certified Veterinary Radiologist Consultations
- Abdominal Ultrasounds by Board Certified Veterinary Radiologist
- Echocardiogram by Board Certified Veterinary Cardiologist
- Intestinal Parasite Screening
- In Hospital Feline Leukemia and FIV.
- Blood Pressure Measurement
- In hospital chemotherapy for many common feline neoplasms including lymphoma, mammary cancer, and mast cell neoplasia.
- In hospital feline focused pharmacy.
- Experience in treatment of many feline diseases and the treatment of multiple simultaneous ailments.
- Hospitalization including intravenous fluid administration and supportive medications via parenteral routes.
Geriatric Wellness Program at the Chicago Cat Clinic
Cats today are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. With improved healthcare and preventative medicine programs, we are seeing more and more cats live to their upper teens and early twenties. Because changes in body condition and daily behaviors can be subtle, we rely on careful observations by you, their caretakers.
Here at Chicago Cat Clinic, we would like to propose a geriatric wellness program for all cats eight years and older to help recognize and treat geriatric diseases as early as possible. These diseases can be treated most effectively when detected in their early stages. Common signs of geriatric diseases you may notice include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, changes in appetite, increase in thirst, lethargy and failure to use the litter box. We encourage you to bring any observations about your cat to our attention. Our goal is to work with you and use the tools available in modern veterinary medicine to maintain the highest quality of life possible for older patients.
In order to practice the highest quality medicine possible, we offer the following recommendations:
STARTING AT 8-10 YEARS OF AGE:
- Chest & abdominal x-rays on all cats. Many geriatric diseases cause noticeable changes in organ size and shape, such as kidney failure (small kidneys) or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged, valentine-shape heart). These “normal” films will be invaluable to compare to future films when a problem develops and will help screen healthy cats for early indications of disease.
- Geriatric blood panel & urine sample every 2 years. With this lab work we are able to evaluate the major organ systems including the liver, kidneys, thyroid gland, red and white blood cell production, electrolytes and blood sugar to screen cats for everything from kidney failure to hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus.
10-12 YEARS OLD & BEYOND:
- Physical exams every 6 months. We hope to detect changes on physical examination and body weight measurement by monitoring our oldest patients very closely.
- Annual geriatric blood panel & urine sample. Older healthy cats can develop problems very quickly and often multiple problems will complicate one another.
Hopefully the brief overview (below) of feline geriatric diseases is informative and explains our screening recommendations for our older patients. This comprehensive approach to caring for our geriatric population will help to ensure high quality medical care for this special group of cats. We encourage you to bring any concerns regarding your geriatric cat’s health and lifestyle to our attention. We look forward to working with you in the future.
Feline Geriatric Diseases
The most common problem we see in older cats is kidney failure, which involves a gradual reduction in kidney function. Signs of this disease include lethargy, vomiting, weight loss and, particularly, an increase in your cat’s thirst and urination. Our recommended lab work will help distinguish kidney failure from other diseases like diabetes mellitus. We can help slow down the progression of kidney failure with prescription diets, medication and fluid therapy at home. Many cats survive years with medical management and lab evaluations every 2-3 months. Cats with kidney failure are at risk for other problems including urinary tract infections and high blood pressure, so a variety of tests may be recommended for these patients.
Hyperthyroidism is another extremely common disease in older cats. It develops when a benign tumor grows in the thyroid gland. Since the thyroid gland controls metabolism in the body, a thyroid tumor will lead to a faster metabolic rate and subsequent weight loss. The heart is forced to beat faster and will often develop a murmur because it can no longer function efficiently. Like kidney failure, hyperthyroidism is associated with high blood pressure in many cats. Fortunately, this disease may be eliminated with radioactive iodine therapy or controlled with daily medication and regular blood tests.
Like their younger counterparts, geriatric cats are at a high risk of developing dental disease. This is the most common health problem we see at the clinic. When plaque and tartar build up on cats’ teeth it leads to gum inflammation, bleeding and discomfort. This gum inflammation (gingivitis) allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream and set up infections elsewhere in the body, including the heart and kidneys. Cats also develop holes in their teeth. These are not cavities. The cause remains a medical mystery but they are responsible for a great deal of oral pain and usually necessitate removing the involved tooth.
Cats also develop a unique type of heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopthy. For unknown reasons the heart begins to struggle to pump blood efficiently and attempts to compensate for it by becoming enlarged, with thicker walls. This actually decreases the size of the chambers in the heart and even less blood can be pumped out to the body. This disease can only be accurately diagnosed with a cardiac ultrasound and usually responds to medical management. A heart murmur is often a clue to the presence of this disease and may prompt us to recommend a chest x-ray to look at the size of the heart. Cats with either high blood pressure or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at risk for blood clots, which can lead to stroke-like episodes similar to those of older people.
Another common condition of aging cats is the onset of cancer. Cancer can develop in any part of the body, but commonly effects the gastrointestinal tract of cats. It triggers subtle or dramatic weight loss similar to hyperthyroidism and can be accompanied by increases in vomiting and/or diarrhea. Gastrointestinal cancer is often associated with inflammatory conditions of the intestines which can complicate the diagnosis. When caught in its early stages, it may be possible to treat cancer in cats using similar techniques to human medicine including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Of course, treatment must be considered on an individual basis in each case.