Here’s a common question veterinarians receive, along with a response from our veterinarian.
My 13-year-old cat has started drinking more water lately and seems to be losing weight. What would cause that?
When cats reach 13 years of age, they are in fact 68 in human years, and at this age, changes in health can be expected! In cats, we begin to see increased thirst, urination, and appetite, all accompanied by weight loss. These signs could be potentially serious, so they should not be ignored. Your veterinarian can perform blood work to test for diseases, so it is a good idea to visit your veterinarian. Here are a couple common issues senior cats face.
Diabetes, an inability to control sugar levels in the blood, is becoming more common in cats. This disease can be a result of an inability to produce enough insulin or a failure for insulin to get into the body’s cells. Carbohydrate-rich diets and a sedentary lifestyle lead to increased weight, a predisposing condition for developing diabetes. Lean cats and cats that are fed a meat-based diet, including canned food, are much less likely to develop diabetes.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease that has become more prevalent in the last 20 years. It is caused by enlargement of one of the two thyroid glands, usually by a benign tumor. It causes the same symptoms as diabetes but usually the cat has a disheveled appearance and is overactive. When examined by your vet, he or she will often feel the enlarged thyroid gland. When listening to the heart, he or she will hear an increase in the heart rate as well as an abnormal sound called a murmur.
In our next post, we’ll discuss diagnosis and treatment of these common conditions. Stay tuned!