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What do elderly cats have in common with elderly people?

The answer is……urinary tract infections.

When we get older, a very common source of sudden illness is a urinary tract infection. When your elderly animal is unwell make sure to test their urine.

This is Verde. She was a happy 18 year old cat who suddenly became lethargic and stopped eating. When she was seen at PAH she was clinically dehydrated and initial blood tests showed mildly raised kidney factors.

Cats often have a slow deterioration in kidney function but we were suspicious there may be something making Verde suddenly worse. Many cats will tolerate having a sample of urine collected by needle. This is called a cystocentesis. Verde’s sample was cloudy and unpleasant looking. Our inhouse analyser showed her urine microscopically. The background dots and dashes are hundreds of bacteria and the larger blobs are inflammatory cells (WBC). A urinary tract infection like this would be significantly harming Verde’s kidney function and making her feel very unwell.

The best treatment for Verde was to be admitted to hospital for 48 hours of intravenous fluids and intravenous antibiotics. Many cats will tolerate the iv lines very well.Within a few days Verde was eating again and well enough to go home on oral antibiotics. She is not a young cat, but prompt treatment meant she could rise above this elderly lady problem this time.

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