By Dr. Elizabeth DeLomba, DVM MBA
Yowl, yowl yowl.
It’s 4 am and my 17-year-old senior citizen cat would like to have his bowl filled. It’s an emergency you see, he can actually visualize the red ceramic bottom. Starvation is imminent!
But seriously, as cats age, they start to have issues just like any other mammal. Cognition starts to diminish, eyesight and hearing may abate and of course, many senior cats have joint issues.
Even if they are relatively healthy, support for the silver senior is essential. There are a number of ways that we can help make the most of their golden years.
Routine Veterinary Visits
Every senior cat needs a thorough physical and lab evaluation every 6 months. We know that cats are excellent at hiding health concerns and early detection is the first step to achieving longevity.
Practice Oral Hygiene
Many cat owners postpone dental care because they are concerned with anesthesia with their older pets. As veterinary professionals, we should discuss the consequences of poor oral health with our clients. Many cats live to be 16 to 18 years old and proper oral hygiene helps to make this possible. If the cat is otherwise healthy, dental cleaning will help prevent dental and gum issues which can lead to renal problems and well as weight loss due to a hesitancy to eat.
Once the teeth are clean, maintaining oral health can be facilitated by utilizing products like Perio Support Pro to help to decrease deposition of calculus. This product can be given to both cats and dogs by simply sprinkling over meals. Perio Support Pro reduced the prevalence of plaque by 20% and tartar by 18% in a double-blind testing of 20 dogs in just 28 days*Perio Support contains ingredients that decrease bacterial adhesion to the gingiva as well as providing healthy bacteria to compete with oral pathogens.
Maintain Cognitive Health
Remember the “yowling” I mentioned earlier? My senior cat has multiple issues so I’m using Feline Senior Vitality Pro to help give him his best possible quality of life. As we know, aging affects both brain function and cognition. Feline Senior Vitality Pro has ingredients that support brain health and well-being. It contains resveratrol, which is a phytonutrient shown to be neuroprotective. Choline is an important component of cell membranes and has been shown to help with memory and may support production of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.
L-Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in green tea that supports brain health. It helps the body produce dopamine, GABA and tryptophan and bring certain neurotransmitters into balance. This calming influence makes changes and challenges easier for senior cats to deal with and make that empty bowl seem a bit less tragic.
Manage Joint Health Issues
Almost all seniors have some issues getting around due to age-related joint issues. Perna canaliculus, a key ingredient in Feline Senior Vitality Pro, contains not only glucosamine and chondroitin but also omega fatty acids and other components to reduce discomfort and increase the building blocks needed to support ongoing joint health. Perna, in combination with DMG (dimethylglycine) has been shown to have a synergistic effect on joint health.
Support Immune Health
Probiotics were originally used to help support the gut and balance the microbiome. In addition to this vital function, we have also learned that probiotics help support the immune system, which is critical for senior cats. Inclusion of BC30™, a GRAS probiotic which is resistant to bile acids and stomach acids for maximum availability as well as DMG, for methylation support, provides key nutrients for immune and over health.
Maintaining health and providing additional care for common issues in senior cats helps to reinforce the bond between pets and their people. It’s a time of their lives when offering extra support makes a big difference in helping senior kitties live their best lives! And don’t forget to fill the food dish before you go to bed at night.
Dr. DeLomba, DVM MBA is a Senior Veterinary Services Consultant at VetriScience®. She combines extensive clinical experience with 13 years of management in veterinary pharmaceuticals. She has authored over 50 veterinary articles and continuing education courses. Dr. DeLomba earned a DVM in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University and MBA from Villanova University.