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J Feline Med Surg. 2013 Jan;15(1):8-19. doi: 10.1177/1098612X12464628.

Routine health screening: findings in apparently healthy middle-aged and old cats.

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Department of Small Animal Medicine and Clinical Biology, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.



Veterinary practitioners often perform geriatric health screening in cats. Unfortunately, scientific information regarding clinical and laboratory abnormalities and normal blood pressure values in elderly cats is scarce. This prospective study evaluated routine health screening tests in apparently healthy middle-aged and old cats.


One hundred cats of 6 years and older underwent blood pressure measurement, physical examination, blood and urine analysis, indirect fundoscopy and bilateral Schirmer tear tests.


Mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) was 133.6 ± 21.5 mmHg. Increased SBP (>160 mmHg) was observed in eight cats, submandibular lymphadenopathy in 32, gingivitis in 72, heart murmur in 11, thyroid goitre in 20, increased creatinine in 29, hyperglycaemia in 25, increased total thyroxine in three, feline immunodeficiency virus positivity in 14, crystalluria in 41, borderline proteinuria in 25 and overt proteinuria in two. Mean tear production was very similar for both eyes and none of the cats had ocular lesions secondary to hypertension.


Old cats (>10 years) had significantly higher SBP, heart rate, murmur frequency, thrombocyte count, urine protein:creatinine ratio and serum urea and bilirubin concentrations, and significantly lower body condition score, haematocrit, albumin and total calcium concentrations than middle-aged cats (6-10 years). The common occurrence of physical examination and laboratory abnormalities in apparently healthy old cats underlines the need for regular health checks and the development of age-dependent laboratory reference intervals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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