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Is My Pet’s Behavior Due to Old Age or a More Serious Condition?

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Dear VetBabble: Is It Just Old Age or Something More Serious? Understanding Your Senior Cat’s Health Concerns

Introduction

One of our caring pet owners recently approached us asking, “My 15-year-old cat is having random episodes of diarrhea, her third eyelid is covering her right eye, which isn’t dilating, and her coat isn’t as sleek as it used to be. Is this just a matter of old age or could it be indicative of a more serious underlying problem? I hope it’s not anything serious, I suspect this might be a case of gastroenteritis, but I worry that it might be something much more sinister. I’m planning to contact a local vet for a diagnosis. What are your thoughts?”

We understand how worrying this can be and I’m here to guide you. It is admirable when pet parents remain vigilant to changes in their pet’s behavior, particularly as they age. This can be beneficial in preventing any possible illness or catching them early when they are more treatable.

Possible Digestive Issues and Eye Conditions

Random episodes of diarrhea can indeed be a cause for concern. While it could indeed be a case of gastroenteritis, you may want to consider and rule out a few other possibilities. In an article on common causes of diarrhea, VetBabble suggests that diarrhea could be a result of anything from a change in diet to more serious health issues. It is crucial to observe for any other accompanying symptoms as well. Is your cat eating and drinking as she usually does? Is there blood in her stool? Has your cat lost weight?

The third eyelid covering your pets’ eye and the non-dilating pupil point towards possible eye-related issues. The Common Eye Conditions in Dogs article can help us understand a few conditions that might also find their way into our feline companions. Therefore, attention should be drawn to any signs of redness, discharge, squinting, or visual impairment in your cat.

When to Contact the Vet

While we recommend you to closely observe your pet for further symptoms, it is highly advisable to contact your local vet as soon as possible. As stated in our article, Diarrhea in Dogs: When to Worry, contacting a vet is crucial when the diarrhea episodes become recurrent to avoid the risk of dehydration amongst other things.

While it’s true that pets slow down and experience changes as they age, visible physical symptoms like a not-so-sleek coat and digestive issues, especially when combined with other symptoms, can be indicative of diseases such as hyperthyroidism, renal failure, or even parasites like Coccidia.

To reiterate, while this might be a part of aging, a consultation with your vet is the best course of action to ensure the well-being of your feline friend. She has been your companion and deserves the best care possible as she enters her sunset years.

Conclusion

I hope I’ve been able to provide some insight and advice regarding your concerns about your 15-year-old cat. Pet owners such as yourself are a credit to the pet community for keeping the best interests of your furry friends at heart. Remember, our aging pets appear to rely more on us, and timely veterinary visits are the key to longer, healthier lives for them.

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