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Ask the Vet: Senior Cat Care, Part Two
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By Racquelle Nash
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By Palmyra Animal Hospital
March 22, 2012 12:01 a.m.

In our last post, we answered the following question and provided information on diabetes and hyperthyroidism, two common diseases senior cats sometimes face.


My 13-year-old cat has started drinking more water lately and seems to be losing weight. What would cause that?


Now that you know what these diseases are, how are they diagnosed and treated?


Diabetes is diagnosed based on symptoms, blood work, and finding sugar in the urine. When diagnosed with diabetes, your cat may be initially started on oral medication as well as a special veterinary diet. Regular monitoring at home and at your vet’s office will test for blood and urine sugar as these results will be used to adjust the amount of insulin your cat will need. With proper diet, medication, and regular monitoring, the prognosis of a long healthy life for your cat is excellent.


Hyperthyroidism is confirmed by a blood test to detect how much excess thyroid hormone is present. Cats who have this disease can be treated using three methods:


  • A drug called methimazole given orally twice per day (This is lifelong treatment, not a cure). Periodic blood work is needed to assure that the hormone level is within normal and that the kidneys are working well. Often periodic blood pressure monitoring is done as high blood pressure is common with this condition and other medications may be needed.

  • Radioactive iodine that destroys the thyroid tumor

  • Surgery that removes the diseased gland


With proper medication and monitoring, long-term prognosis is very good for your cat. Stay tuned for the next post, in which we'll talk about a kidney failure, another serious problem our senior cats can face.

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