by Connie G.
We’ve all heard it, or even thought it ourselves:
“Fido is sleeping more, but that’s normal – he’s not as young as he used to be.”
“Fluffy seems to be uncomfortable, but that’s normal – she’s getting older.”
“Spot’s appetite has been off lately, but that’s normal – he’s older, you know.”
While some, or all, of those symptoms may be present as a pet ages, it does not make them “normal,” and they shouldn’t be dismissed as insignificant signs of a benign condition.
Thanks to better care, including food, veterinary care and living conditions, our pets are living longer than they ever have. As they age, senior/mature pets need extra care and attention. Their bodies are changing more quickly, often internally where we can’t easily see what’s going on. Attentive veterinary care is more crucial than ever, and can uncover problems before they become advanced or life-threatening. Appropriate care can ensure a pet’s golden years are healthy, comfortable, productive years!
What is a Senior?
To many, the term senior implies old. None of us want to think of our pets as “old.” There inevitably comes a point, however, when the metabolism slows, joint fluidity decreases, and organs start to function less effectively than when a pet was young. Cats and small dogs are typically considered senior, or mature, around 7 years old. Large breed dogs, reflecting their shorter lifespan, and will often start these age-related changes as early as 5 or 6. But just because these changes are to be expected does not mean they should be considered normal, for there is often much that can be done to slow, or reverse, some of the symptoms that we see in our older pets.
What are the special health concerns of the senior pet?
As with humans, the tendency toward certain conditions increases as our pets age. Some of the most frequently-occurring diseases seen in our older pet population include cancer, diseases of the heart, liver, kidney or urinary tract, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia. Changes in sight and hearing and behavior are common.
Many of the components of the veterinary care promoted in a pet’s early years continue as they age, but may take on special consideration in their golden years. It is generally recommended that senior/mature pets have at least two wellness visits each year. At these visits, we will address the special concerns of your pet. Weight management, diet and nutrition not only are still important, but your pet’s needs will change as a pet ages. Oral and dental care become take on special significance due to the increased incidence of dental disease in the older pet, but also the toll that can take on an aging pet’s organs. Urinalysis, often performed on a younger pet only when they’re showing symptoms of a possible urinary tract infection or other dysfunction, is often recommended as a routine component of senior pet wellness, as it can reveal changes in the bladder, kidneys and urinary tract that occur more often in the older pet, but may not be symptomatic until the situation is far more complicated. Similarly, routine bloodwork becomes more important to preventive care than for the younger pet.
We want to help you keep your pet healthy
At Kingsland Blvd. Animal Clinic, we are committed to partnering with our pet parents to provide them the means and opportunity to enjoy a long, healthy, active life with their pets. Recognizing the costs of appropriate veterinary care for our senior pets can be daunting, we are proud to introduce Senior Pet Days. Beginning March 1, we will be offering a special Senior Package, including a comprehensive senior wellness exam, senior bloodwork including thyroid testing, urinalysis, and an abdominal ultrasound, at a savings of over $100! Once we have the results of the tests back from the lab, your veterinarian w will call you with the results of the exam and tests and review any recommendations to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Questions? Please call us at 281-578-1506.