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Fundus examination is a valuable component of the clinical examination and is specifically helpful in identifying elderly patients with systemic hypertension.
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Health Check Form
elderly cat health
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A goitre should not be present in a healthy cat. Where present, goitre may indicate presence of hyperthyroidism.
To palpate for a goitre the clinician can stand behind the cat or in front of it. ...
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Over recent decades, the lifespan of cats has increased dramatically and where it was once considered normal for a domestic shorthair cat to have an expected lifespan of 12-14 years, now 18-20 years seems more appropriate. This improved longevity is likely to be due to a variety of factors including improved diet and healthcare of cats and it is certainly true that much current research is focused on old cat illnesses, such as those discussed elsewhere in this issue. Effective preventive healthcare, as discussed in this article, facilitates prompt diagnosis and appropriate interventions benefitting the cat’s quality (and potentially length) of life as well as the human-pet bond.
Which are common health problems in the elderly cat?
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by Sarah Caney
Management of the elderly cat
Volume 25(3), Autumn 2015
Sarah is a 1993 graduate of the University of Bristol where she also did her residency in feline medicine and PhD. She is an RCVS Specialist in Feline Medicine and enjoys seeing a mixture of first opinion and referral feline patients. Sarah is especially interested in the care of geriatric cats and her company, Vet Professionals, conducts clinical research via online questionnaires submitted by cat owners. She has written a number of books for cat owners and veterinary professionals including ‘Caring for a cat with chronic kidney disease’, ‘Caring for a cat with hyperthyroidism’ and ‘Caring for a cat with lower urinary tract disease’ published by her company Cat Professional.
Furthermore, she has published widely in prestigious international journals and has been an invited speaker to many national and international conferences for veterinary surgeons and nurses/technicians.
Sarah Caney BVSc PhD
Vet Professionals Ltd.
Midlothian Innovation Centre,
Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RE
A goitre should not be present in a healthy cat. Where present, goitre may indicate presence of hyperthyroidism. To palpate for a goitre the clinician can stand behind the cat (as in this photo) or in front of it. Using a thumb and forefinger the larynx is palpated before sliding the thumb and forefinger down the neck to the thoracic inlet and back up again. A goitre often feels like a small pea-sized swelling which slips under the clinician’s finger/s. In some cases it can help to turn the cat’s head to each side when palpating the neck.
Health check form
It can be used as a pro-forma for history and physical examination of the older cat. In a busy clinic, use of health questionnaires can be very helpful in saving time and ensuring that nothing is missed. Questionnaires can be completed by an owner in the waiting room prior to their appointment. The aim of the questionnaire is to quickly establish whether there are issues requiring further attention in the history and/or physical examination.
Common health problems affecting the older cat. Click on the disorders in orange to find out more.
Distant indirect ophthalmoscopy is a helpful technique for fundus examination. This procedure is performed in a dark room.
Blood pressure measurement is a vital component of the elderly cat check. The author recommends Doppler blood pressure measurement, as shown in this patient.