Senior pets requires special care and attention, and our veterinarians are committed to guiding you and your senior pet through the golden years.
Pets Age Faster Than Humans
One year is the equivalent of 4-6 years worth of aging in senior dogs and cats. A lot can change medically in that much time.
We recommend physicals every 6 months for this age group.
Lab testing depends on the patient, but often includes blood and urine testing, blood pressures and glaucoma testing.
Biggest Problems for Senior Pets
1) Arthritis It is devastating to have a dog or cat that is in great shape in every way except arthritis that is severe enough to have them in constant pain and unable to live normal lives. There are many very effective treatment options for arthritis, but all are best if started as early as possible
2) Dental Disease Older patients often have very severe tooth infections causing terrible and constant pain. These pets rarely stop eating, but owners consistently tell us how much more lively and young their pet acts after dental procedures where we have removed the infected teeth. These infections are also a threat to other organs such as the liver, kidneys, and heart.
3) Obesity Our pets are now fighting the same problems we are with weight control. They are eating fatty foods never intended for them and living sedentary lives. The added weight has the same effect on pets that it does on humans including increased risk of diabetes, worsening of arthritis, and heart disease.
4) Organ or hormonal disease (kidney failure, diabetes, heart disease) These are the very diseases we are looking for with our blood tests. Many of these diseases have effective and affordable treatment options if caught in the early stages.
5) Infections Older patients are much more susceptible to illnesses such as bladder infections, prostate and uterine infections. Early stages are often asymptomatic meaning they show no outward signs but we frequently find these problems through our standard testing.
Senior Pet Care
Physical Exams – These are the cornerstone for quality pet care at any age, but especially for seniors. One year is the equivalent of 4-6 years worth of aging in older pets. So much can change in that amount of time. We recommend these older patients be examined every 6 months to try to catch changes as soon as possible. Most diseases are much more effectively treated in the early stages. This often is less expensive as well! Vaccinations are tailored to the individual pet and their lifestyle.
Blood Testing – These are the same tests run by your doctor each year to check kidney function, liver health, thyroid levels, blood sugar, cholesterol, and many other organs for early signs of disease. We check urine as well and together these results give us our best chance at early detection of many common health problems.
Blood Pressure – This is especially important for the older cats as high blood pressure or hypertension, is common. While not as frequent, we do see this disease in dogs as well, so we recommend at least once yearly testing for all senior pets.
X-Rays – This depends on the individual patient but certain breeds are predisposed to heart disease (Great Danes, Dobermans, Shepherds, Boxers, and many small breed dogs). Chest x-rays may help catch changes to the heart before clinical signs develop. The large breed dogs, especially, do not show signs until very late in the disease.