There are a growing number of ways we can help "slow the clock" and promote healthy, long lives for our senior pets. Because pets age at a much faster and more dramatic rate than humans, many pets as young as 7 years of age are considered seniors and require specialized care.
Diagnostic Wellness Exams
Several non-invasive tests perform regularly can help your vet detect early stage disease and provide a baseline for measuring changes. These tests include:
• Complete Blood Count
• Serum Chemistry Profile
• Thyroid Hormone Level
• Blood Parasite Testing
• Fecal Centrifugation
• Complete Urinalysis
More Frequent Examination
While an annual exam may be sufficient for younger dogs, it is ideal for your vet to examine your senior pet every 6 months. For a dog, 6 monts represents 2.5-3 years in the life of a human. As you know, older people go to their doctors more frequently, too. Special attention will be paid to your dog's teeth and gums, skin and coat, heart, lungs, kidneys, digestive system, eyes, and joints. Annual lab tests can detect the onset of disease or abnormal health conditions.
Nutrition and Environment
A proper diet and suitable environment are critical to your dog's continued health and comfort. We my advise you on modifications for your aging pet. This may include a special diet, supplements, or an exercise regimen for your senior pet.
Conditions such as arthritis are very common disorders in older pets. New medications are now available that are both safe and effective for pain management, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, and other age-related diseases. Medications can bring back quality of life for dogs and their owners. However, some medications do require periodic blood monitoring for side-effects by evaluating liver and kidney function.
Senior Wellness Checklist
This checklist can help you observe behaviors and symptoms that may indicate a potential health problem in your senior pet. If your pet is experiencing one or more of these signs, please call us immediately.
Signs that your pet needs to see the vet:
• Change in water consumption
• Change in Appetite
• Lethargy or depression
• Change in urine production or frequency
• Changes in attitude
• Change in sleeping pattern
• Noticeable decrease in vision
• Weight Gain
• Weight loss
• Bad breath or drooling
• Lumps and bumps on the body
• Excessive panting
• Breathing heavily or rapidly at rest
• Increased stiffness, trouble jumping, or keeping up on walks
Early detection of problems allows for early treatment, which can significantly improve the quality of your senior pet's life. We are not just looking to extend the life of your animal with our comprehensive care. We believe that the quality of your pet's life is important, and we work with you to plan the appropriate care to help ensure that your pet has a long, healthy, and happy life.