When cats reach the age of 7, they are considered to be senior patients. During this time disease and physiological changes occur rapidly and yearly exams are no longer frequent enough. Remember, cats are aging many times faster than we are. At this age the doctors like to check up on feline patients every 6 months, with a special focus on the neuromuscular system and vital organ function.
Senior adult cats receive the same vaccines as kittens, but have a more developed immune system which has been introduced to the vaccines already, and therefore needs those vaccines less frequently. Rabies is required by law in the state of North Carolina, but only needs to be boosted every 3 years in an adult cat. Feline distemper can be boosted once a year or once every 3 years with our alternate combo vaccine. For senior cats that will be going outdoors, we will booster a vaccine for feline leukemia every 3 years.
As a senior, your cat needs to continue the heartworm and flea preventatives every month. We also check once every year to make sure they have not picked up any worms by running a fecal (intestinal parasite) test.
For a senior cat, we need to start using a more encompassing blood panel, a Senior Wellness Panel. This continues to check the vital functions of a Junior Wellness Panel, but also screens for other problems that begin to appear more often in elderly pets, including endocrine disease, diabetes, and urinary infections.
Dental Care for Your Cat
Elderly cats will require dental cleanings more often than young adults. Remember, both their teeth and internal systems are aging much more rapidly than our own!