Cats can be great at hiding illness and pain from us–but their people often are tuned into subtle changes that let them know that something is not right. Sometimes they can’t really tell us specific concerns, but they know that behavioral changes are there. Their cat may be more lethargic, he may not be eating or drinking the way it used to, or she is not socializing with her folks. Sometimes this gets referred to as ADR (ain’t doing right)–a collection of small signs that are alarming the astute pet owner.
S0-what can you do? First on the list is a thorough exam by your veterinarian–please make sure you tell us all of the symptoms and concerns you see-even if they seem relatively unimportant. This will help the vet in making his or her assessment and diagnosis. In addition to the exam, your vet may recommend diagnostic testing such as lab work and x-rays to get a full picture of what may be impacting your cat.
What are some of the causes for ADR? These can vary by age, but we often find links to several different causes. Some cats may be experiencing oral disease which limits their ability to eat and causes pain. While it is rarer, cats can also develop tumors in the mouth and nasal cavities which can cause ADR symptoms. Chronic kidney disease is often seen, particularly with older cats. Chronic kidney disease is a serious long term illness, but your vet can help you manage it most successfully when it is caught in the early stages–this is part of the reason that we recommend regular preventive care visits with your cats. There are many options in your vet’s toolbox to aid in the detection and management of chronic kidney disease.
Degenerative joint disease can also cause chronic pain for your cat that may cause this vague and non specific symptoms. There are some therapeutic options to help your cat–but like with kidney disease, the sooner this is diagnosed and managed, the better. Sometimes endocrine system diseases underlie ADR symptoms. Hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus are two endocrine diseases that can impact your kitty, and there are others that your vet may diagnose as well.
Many of these diseases can be managed effectively even if they can’t be cured to provide your cat with a good quality of life. Again, the key is often early diagnosis and treatment for the most successful outcomes–so please make sure to see your vet when you notice that your kitty is just not doing right….