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Posted on 01-27-2012

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Cat owners are often concerned when they notice something is not quite right with their beloved feline. Watching for subtle differences in a cat's behavior is something to which every cat owner should be attuned. Cats are masterful pretenders as they try to cover up any indication of illness. This is a natural survival instinct used to ward off predators.

Because felines don't really want to "tell " you how they feel it is important to have yearly wellness exams for adults and biannual exams for those that are 7 years or older. Our veterinarians can examine your pet and perform lab tests (bloodwork, urinalysis, fecals) that can detect underlying issues. Often these lab tests will show underlying disease in early stages but your pet may still feel and act fine.

This is especially significant in your cat's senior years, from ages 7 on, when monitoring for geriatric diseases becomes vital. Catching diseases in their initial stages can allow our doctor's to treat those diseases more effectively than if they are discovered later. This is important in maintaining the highest quality and longest life possible for your feline companion.

The following is a list of signs to be aware of that may suggest your pet is not well.

  

 Sign:

 Could Indicate:

 1) Inappropriate elimination  lower urinary tract disease
   kidney disease
   urinary tract infection
   diabetes mellitus
   arthritis
   
 2) Lower activity level and sleeping  systemic illness
      more  arthritis
   
 3) Higher activity level  hyperthyroidism
   
 4) Changes in interaction:  disease
      with humans or pets  fear
   anxiety
   pain
   
 5) Decreased food consumption  poor dental health
   cancer
   
 6) Increased food consumption  diabetes mellitus
   hyperthyroidism
   other health problems
   
 7) weight loss  hyperthyroidism
   diabetes mellitus
   kidney insufficiency
   other diseases
   
 8) Obesity  increased risk of diabetes mellitus
   joint disease
   other problems
   
 9) Difficulty grooming:  fear
      Also watch for hair loss and a greasy  anxiety
      or matted appearance  obesity
   other illnesses
   
 10) Increased grooming  skin problems (allergies or fleas)
   
 11) Stress signs: depression, hiding  underlying illness
        more, spending more time awake,  
        scanning their envionment  
   
 12) Changes in vocalization or howling  hyperthyroidism
   high blood pressure
   pain
   anxiety
   
 13) Bad breath  early indication of an oral problem
   (70% of cats have gum disease as
       early as age 3)
  kidney disease 
   
 14) Increased thirst and/or urination  diabetes mellitus
   kidney disease
   thyroid disease

If your pet shows any of these or other signs of illness, our doctors and staff at Eagle Animal Hospital are ready to help. Call and make an appointment with our friendly staff. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding areas. We will be attentive to your needs and concerns and solve the mysteries of what your feline friend may be trying to hide.

Written by Donna Lewis, manager at Eagle Animal Hospital

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