The term “senior pet” describes an animal that has reached the stage of life during which progressive decline in physical condition, organ function, sensory function, mental function, and immunity occurs. This life stage begins, on average, around seven years of age for both dogs and cats. While this may seem quite young, it roughly equates to a 50-year-old person.
What steps can we take to keep our senior pets healthy and ensure a long life? Consider these options:
- Annual or semiannual physical exams are the single most important things we can do. Detecting heart disease, oral infection, cancer, ocular change, hearing loss, and obesity and treating them early are crucial.
- Blood tests can check for diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, anemia, and thyroid imbalances. We can develop a plan to manage these conditions before they cause irreversible damage.
- Weight control, nutrition, and exercise play a big role in senior pets. Feeding senior diets that are low fat with restricted, high quality protein will help maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise is critical to maintain muscle mass, range of motion and lean body scores. Geriatric dogs can’t run marathons, but they can surely go for walks! It benefits the pets and owners!
- Radiology can evaluate heart and lung changes that may require medication. Imaging joints for arthritis and bone changes will tell us if there is need for treatment.
- Dentistry is very important to prevent oral infections and tooth loss. Oral disease can lead to heart conditions and other secondary problems if it’s not addressed.
Our doctors and staff are committed to providing you high quality exams and diagnostics for your senior pets. Please contact us to schedule an exam soon!