If you have senior cats, keeping a close eye on their health is important. Our cats are good at masking pain or illness. They instinctively try to hide their pain as a survival mechanism to prevent other predators from seeing them as weak or vulnerable. So when cats don’t feel well or if a health issue is brewing, it’s not always easy to pick up on it.
There are many health issues that can creep up in our aging kitties – some slowly and others quite quickly. But what exactly is considered a senior cat? The medical field defines cats over the age of 10 as being senior because that is when the average cat’s body starts to break down. In my eyes 10 is still very young for a cat but I digress.
Once our cats reach the age of 10, we want to get a senior blood panel. Ideally we want to do this twice a year. A senior blood panel can detect disease – even when our cat appears completely healthy. The earlier we are able detect a disease the sooner we can hopefully stop its progression – or even fix the issue.
A senior blood panels detects:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Thyroid issues – as well as many other disorders.
A senior blood panel also includes a urinalysis – which is always a good thing to get checked. It shows if there are any infections brewing or crystals forming.
To me, one of the most important parts of a urinalysis is checking something called SDMA. SDMA test is a more reliable indicator of kidney function than creatinine because SDMA detects declining kidney function earlier and is not impacted by muscle mass. Creatinine can miss early function loss and be falsely decreased in patients with poor muscle mass.
Let’s be sure to take extra precautions with our senior cats and be sure to get them a wellness check twice a year along with a senior blood panel. They are so worth it!