Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dementia in Cats

Cats can begin to lose their mental faculties as they move into their senior years. This can come as quite a shock to pet owners, as dementia is not something most people associate with cats. This condition is known as "cognitive dysfunction syndrome".
It is not a disease in itself, but it is a gradual decline in cognitive ability.A cat is classified as "senior" from around ten years of age. One study found that close to 30% of cats between 11 and 14 show signs of dementia, this figure jumps up to 50% in cats over 15 years of age and up to 80% in cats aged 16 and onwards. Most ten year old cats are still in relatively good physical and mental health. They may have slowed down, have a bit of arthritis and even some kidney failure, they spend more time sleeping, but they are generally doing pretty well.

Age really begins to become apparent from around the 13-14th year. That is when it is obvious that they are in their senior years. Again, this really can change from cat to cat, some 15 year olds may be sprightly, but on the whole, they slow down around 13-14.

Rodent Ulcer / Indolent Ulcer

Also known as "indolent ulcer", rodent ulcers are ulcerations and swelling of the lip which develop in response to an underlying allergy. Rodent ulcer is part of a "syndrome" known as eosinophilic granuloma complex, which comes in three forms.
Eosinohiliic plaque, linear granuloma and rodent ulcer. This article will focus on rodent ulcers only.
White cells known as eosinophils have many roles, one of which is help to fight infections (viral infected cells, bacteria, fungi, parasites) by going to the site and releasing cytotoxic granules (this is known as degranulation), destroying the target. Rodent ulcers occur when eosinophils release their granules into local tissues, causing lesions. The exact cause of this isn't entirely known, but it is believed that common allergens such as flea bites, food and inhaled allergies trigger this.

Other suggested causes include dental infection and exposure to the feline leukemia virus, although not all cats who have rodent ulcers will have had exposure to the virus.
Cats of any age can develop rodent ulcers, they may appear once only or can recur. Despite the name, they have no connection to rodents.