Thanks for your answers - they have been very helpful!
You have described to me a senior cat who has in the last few weeks started to change his habits, most notably his night-time routines. He is waking you up. He has not lost weight and is urinating more frequently than normal.
So, based on what you are telling me, there are a couple of things that I would be wondering about.
The first is whether your old boy might have decreased vision due to age related vision loss. Certainly, we see night vision being affected long before day vision with with lenticular sclerosis (an age related change of the lens).
Here is more about this condition:
So, perhaps Pascal is unable to see well and gets confused during the night because of this. Your vet should be able to examine his eyes to see if there has been any change in their condition that would account for this odd behaviour.
The next thing that I am considering is exactly what my colleague, Joan, suggested: Pascal might be starting with the very early stages of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).
CDS is an age-related mental decline that happens in older pets and that isn't caused by a specific medical condition such as a tumour, organ failure, or hearing or vision loss. We diagnose it far more often in dogs than in cats, but certainly cats are also affected.
Cats with CDS typically exhibit some of the following behavioural changes that interfere with their normal enjoyment of life:
Loss of control of bladder/bowels or both
Increased vocalization, particularly at night
Nightime pacing and restlessness
Increased sleeping during the day
Irritability and even aggression that is not normal for that cat
Loss of coordination
Now, not every cat will show every symptom, but from what you are describing this is certainly a possibility! CDS is a diagnosis of exclusion - which means when we rule out a lot of other things, then we are left with CDS.
Now, it is possible that what you are describing is due to early hyperthyroid problems, or to other internal problems... but with that I would expect other symptoms such as weight loss and appetite change.
In cats, there are not as many treatment options for CDS as there are for dogs, as it is not so commonly diagnosed. However, there are a few things you could certainly try.
1. There is a medication called Anipryl that is quite effective at treating CDS IN DOGS.
Unfortunately, it is not tested or approved in cats. However, some vets have used it in cats, and have reported good results. It would be something to talk to your vet about, though I would not jump to using it before trying a few other options.
Here is more about it:
2. A source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids may be helpful in cats with CDS.
I would suggest that you consider a dietary source of essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids) daily added to the food, if your cat is not already on one.
Your vet would be able to provide these for you - some brands are DermCaps and EFA-Z.
Here is more about them:
3. Anti-oxidants can also be helpful as a dietary supplement.
VetriScience is a very reputable company and their CellAdvance product is recommended for this problem.
4. I would strongly recommend a Feliway Diffuser system.
This is a plug-in device that sprays a cat pheromone into the air, and you could put it in your bedroom to help. The dog version (DAP infuser) is very helpful for dogs with cognitive dysfunction.
Here are links to more information:
So, overally, I would have to wonder if this puzzling and distressing behaviour might be very early CDS in your senior cat.
I do think it's a good idea to have Pascal's thyroid levels and blood pressure checked by your vet, if this has not already been done. If these have been checked, then talk to your vet about whether his physical exam and blood work supports a diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
And, here is more information about CDS in cats:
Now, you also asked about dental issues...
Many cats develop dental problems as they age, from tartar and calculus build-up to gingivitis and gingival recession. They can get pyorrhea (pockets of pus) forming in the decaying tooth.
As you can imagine, all of this is quite painful.
Not only is it painful but also it puts your cat at risk for other medical problems to have infection in his mouth. The patient can absorb toxins and bacteria across the inflamed gums and into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, they can cause problems in the kidneys and the heart.
So, it is not just for dental health but for the health of the whole cat that I would strongly encourage you to proceed with a dental cleaning!
The cost of dental care is really variable, and can be tough to estimate even with the cat standing right in front of me, but I'll do my best to give you an idea. The values I will give are in Canadian dollars.
Every dental patient would need the following:
- exam (~ $60), anesthetic (~ $200), dental cleaning (~$100)
The factors which are variable are:
- some cats need blood and urine analyses before the procedure (depending on age and pre-existing medical problems) (~$180)
- some cats need intravenous fluids during the procedure (~$100)
- antibiotics during the procedure and to go home may be needed if there are pockets of infection ($50)
- teeth may need to be extracted, depending on how long this takes, and how many teeth it could be a charge anywhere between $20 and $200!
- if many teeth are extracted, pain killers may be needed (~$20-$80, depending if it is just needed in hospital or to go home with as well)
- dental x-rays may be needed ($150)
So, there is a HUGE range in the price of dentals ($360 - $1120) depending on how severe the problems are. Naturally, the sooner you go, the less expensive it is likely to be because the less severe the problems are likely to be.
A veterinarian would be able to give you a more precise estimate after examining Pascal because at that point he or she would be able to let you know whether blood work would be needed, and how likely it is that extractions might be needed.
I will also give you links to more information about dental disease in cats:
I hope that this information is helpful to you!
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If you need more information, just click on reply and I will be back tomorrow to provide it!
The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.
Best wishes, Fiona