Senior Pets Need Additional Monitoring

With advancements in veterinary medicine, there are many options for you to maximize your senior pets health and quality of life.  Depending upon whether you have a cat or dog there are certain health conditions that can negatively impact them.  In addition, large or giant breed dogs need these evaluations sooner than a smaller dog or cat due to the shortened life span associated with these larger pets.  In general a small dog or cat is considered to be a “senior” when they reach the age of 7 or 8 years.  Large and giant breed dogs the “senior” status begins at age 5-7. 

 

What do we look for in senior pets?  Just as in people we are checking for early signs of kidney, liver, and heart disease.  Additionally we evaluate for the beginnning of arthritis and diabetes.  Weight evaluation  and management are important as well.  Dental health is critical at all stages of life but especially as our pets age.  Poor dental health is a leading source of infection that enters the blood stream and can spread to the liver, kidney and heart causing major damage and disease.  It also HURTS to have bad teeth and gum disease!  Pets do not let us know they have a cavity in a tooth until that tooth is so far gone that we smell the odor or the pet is in severe pain.  When we have a small cavity, it HURTS us, too and we can tell our dentist which tooth and where it hurts.  Regular dental exams including cleaning and xrays can pinpoint these problems early leading to better dental health, improved overall general health and a much happier pet.

The health screens can be custom tailored to your pet’s needs, but in general, all pets should have a urinalysis, urine albumin screening, CBC (blood count) and Chem 10 (basic organ function tests).  Additionally, all senior cats should have a blood pressure and a Thyroid evaluation.  Early detection allows for early intervention thus maximizing the health and longevity of your pet, adding years of enjoyment for you and a higher quality of life for your pet.

We are encouraging all owners of senior pets to begin early monitoring and we are happy to explain in detail how we can assist you.  Together we are your pet’s health care team and we all want to preserve their health and well being.  Be sure to ask us next time you visit. 

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