Senior Pet Care
With the advancements in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever. However, with this increased lifespan comes an increase in the variety of conditions and diseases that they are susceptible to including osteoarthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, cancer and diabetes. And because pets age faster than we do, health problems can progress much more rapidly. However, when such diseases are diagnosed in their early stages, treatment to cure such disorders or delay their progress can be very successful in most cases.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the most important steps pet owners can take to keep their pets healthy. AAHA recommends that healthy senior dogs and cats (age 7+) visit the veterinarian every six months for a complete exam and laboratory testing, blood and urine screenings.
Older cats can develop a myriad of medical problems, but there are three common problems that we see in geriatric patients: diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism. All three diseases affect the other systems over time and, if left untreated at an early stage, are often fatal. If these chronic disease processes are detected soon after they start, they may be very treatable and controllable. As in all health evaluations, early detection is the key as it allows for more and better treatment options.
Your senior pet’s wellness exam should include the following:
- Health Consultation
- Physical Examination
- Diagnostic Tests
- Intestinal Parasite Test
- Overall Wellness Recommendations
- Vaccinations (if necessary)
- Blood Work and Urine Screening
A visit to your veterinarian is imperative if you notice any of the following:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Excessive drinking and/or urination
- Loss of appetite or lethargy
- Behavior changes
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Skin lumps, bumps or irritation
- Bad breath, plaque on teeth or bleeding gums
- Ear odors, redness, scratching or head shaking