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Feline geriatrics: an overview (Proceedings)

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Oct 01, 2008

The Effects of Aging on the Body

Immune System

• Aging causes decline in immune function and host defense

• Chronic geriatric diseases can impair immune function

• Decreased hydration - decreased immune function

• Decreased cough reflex - pulmonary defense

Blood

• No change in basal hematopoiesis with aging

• Ability to respond to increased demand changes

• Geriatric diseases can cause anemia

• Decreased blood flow due to dehydration or underlying disease

Skin

• Decreased elastin content of skin

o assessment of hydration is difficult

• Geriatric skin is thinner

• Less effective grooming in cats

o matting

o odor

o dermatitis

• Claws can be overgrown and brittle

Neurological Changes

• Central Nervous System

o Neurochemical alterations

o Memory loss

o Decline in intelligence

• Hearing

o Cochlear hair cells decline progressively from birth

o auditory chain arthritis

o chronic ear infection

o neurological degeneration

o owners are usually unaware

The Eye

• Lenticular sclerosis

o less pronounced in cats than in dogs

• Iris

o iris ciliary muscle atrophy are common

o significant?

• Retina

o detachments occur secondary to hypertension

Oral cavity

• Dental disease is extremely common

• Decrease in olfaction occurs in aging people

• Responsible for decreased food intake in non-sick geriatric animals?

• No change in temperature, viscosity, or gustation associated with aging in human beings

• Dental disease is rarely a cause of anorexia