Caring For Your Senior Pet

Bear enjoying our backyard.

Most pets over the age of 8 years old are considered senior, but larger breed dogs such as Great Danes are seniors at 5 years of age. Senior pets have already stolen our hearts so we give back by catering to their special needs.

 

All seniors should have routine lab work done at least once a year. Routine testing allows for earlier detection of diseases. The earlier the disease is identified, the better our chances to control or cure the disease. 

 

Two different views of the chest are used to get a complete image of the heart and lungs.

X-rays are an important tool for monitoring the health of senior pets. The chest cavity should be x-rayed yearly in cats and dogs over 8 years of age. The heart and lungs can be viewed for signs of heart enlargement, fluid accumulation in the lungs, or possible tumors in the lungs. X-rays of the abdomen are helpful in monitoring any signs of liver changes, kidney size and shape changes, bladder stone formation, and more. 

 

Freddie comfortably waits for his blood pressure reading.

Older cats and dogs can have heart disease in later life. Signs are suble in early stages so our pets need routine x-rays of the chest to look at the heart size and to look for any fluids in the lungs that would indicate heart failure. An ECG (measures heart rhythm) and blood pressure reading also help monitor heart health as well. When heart disease is diagnosed, there are several medications and supplements available to help manage the disease. The earlier those are started, the better. 

 

Arthritis is a huge concern with older pets. Dogs start to show signs of slowing down, difficulty getting up, and possible grumpiness from the pain. Cats tend to be better at hiding the signs of arthritis, but you may notice them not jumping as much or missing the litter box. X-rays can help us see the severity of arthritis. Several supplements can help slow down joint damage. As arthritis becomes more severe, there is a variety of pain medications available. We offer laser therapy which is a very safe alternative for treating pain. We just have to find what works best for your pet. 

 

Hector was 17 years old and a teeth cleaning (with extractions) helped stop his pain.

Dental care is important at any stage of life but is more so when your pet becomes a senior. As they age, our pets are not as prepared to fight off diseases and infections. A common source of infection is from dental disease. Dental disease also causes pain which can be mistaken for arthritis pain. By keeping your pets' teeth clean, we are able to help keep them healthier and happier longer. Studies have shown they live longer as well. Click here for more information on dental care.

 

Supplements, especially antioxidants, are important to keep your senior pet healthy. A different diet may be better as well. We will advise you on what is best for your pet. Click here for more information on complimentary and alternative medicine, including supplements.