You want nothing but the best for your beloved pet, and as they grow older, you want them with you as long as possible. Senior pet care aims to keep you two together while ensuring your pet is comfortable and stays in good health.
After the age of 7, cats and dogs are considered seniors and that’s when you may start seeing changes such as lethargy, decreased or increased appetite, intermittent vomiting or diarrhea, increased thirst, coughing or breathing problems or just a gut feeling that something is “off.” These are the signals that it’s time to shift gears and keep an even closer medical eye on your pet than before.
Wellness for Your Senior Pet
We encourage all pet patients to visit our animal hospital for an annual exam. We will take a comprehensive history, perform a thorough physical, administer vaccinations and discuss appropriate diagnostic tests and treatments. For our seniors, we encourage semi-annual visits to keep even closer tabs on them. Our senior veterinary services include testing designed to find and diagnose unique symptoms of age including a complete blood count, an inclusive chemistry panel, parasite evaluation, and urinalysis.
Keeping Senior Pets Healthy
We are committed to doing our part to keep your pet healthy, but there are things you can also do. Older pets need a change in diet with different nutritional values and regular exercise is important. A 5-mile run is probably out, but a brisk walk around the block for dogs is enjoyable. Be sure to keep a close eye on your pet’s weight and call us when there is a sudden or marked change.
Problems Senior Pets May Encounter
As pets age, so do the organs that have worked so hard to serve them. Kidney disease and heart disease are common in seniors. Pets that have kidney disease lose their appetite, drink copious amounts of water, increase or decrease their urine output and may have vomiting. Pets with heart disease have symptoms that include coughing, trouble breathing, lethargy and decreased appetite. Pay special attention to behavioral changes which may indicate discomfort, pain or senility. It is also common for older pets to have aches and pains associated with disc disease or arthritis. A combination of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, pain medication and glucosamine/chondroitin supplement can keep your pet active, pain-free and a happy senior citizen.
Dealing with Cancer in Senior Pets
Cancer is in a category by itself. It can strike pets at any age, but is more common in seniors. Unfortunately, 50 percent of pets above age 10 will be diagnosed with it. Cancer symptoms vary greatly, ranging from swollen bellies to lumps, to wounds that don’t heal, and more.