Nikita - ageing gracefully

Nikita is a 17 and a half year old cat who is a regular boarder at our clinic. Her owner has been bringing Nikita to us for her regular senior health checks twice a year ever since she reached 8 years of age, a dedicated owner for sure!

Nikita's owner picked up on subtle signs over the years. When Nikita was 10 years old she started becoming more irritable and intolerant of being brushed especially along the middle of her back. After an examination she was started on a nutriceutical containing glucosamine and chondroitin. This seemed to relieve her mild arthritic discomfort and she was back to her best.

Progressively over the next five years Nikita's osteoarthritis continued to cause clinical signs. She was placed onto monthly injections (which stimulate the production of joint fluid to reduce cartilage irritation) as well as having anti-inflammatory effects. Since she had been having her regular checks the vets were able to monitor her condition and ensure she was provided with all options to reduce any arthritic pain. Regular blood and urine tests assured the vets and Nikita's owner that we were not placing too much strain onto her body systems. More recently Nikita started on oral anti-inflammatories which were given whenever her owner thought Nikita was feeling pain. Over the winter of 2011 this became a daily necessity.

At her most recent check Nikita was still looking great. Her coat was soft and shiny. She was at a very healthy weight and her teeth were in good condition. Her blood pressure was within upper end of normal limits (taking into account the "white coat syndrome" that can effect cats as well!) This time however her blood and urine tests indicated that her kidneys were starting to fail. We immediately altered her diet to a prescription food containing low protein and salt, although it took several days for Nikita to adjust to this change. She is now on another nutriceutical which help to reduce her arthritic pain in order to be able to lower the dosage of her anti-inflammatory medications, something she still needs to manage her ailments.

Our feline friends are very prone to primary kidney failure and other geriatric diseases such as hyperthyroidism. Nikita was fortunate that by having her senior checks we were able to identify her diseases early. Nikita will hopefully continue being her owner's companion for many more years thanks to early detection and intervention.