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Senior Pet Care: Making the Most of Your Pet’s Golden Years
There’s nothing quite like the joy of watching our pets in action, whether it’s playing with a favorite toy, enjoying a tasty treat, or taking a well-deserved nap after a hard romp. It can be difficult to watch them slow down, however, as they inevitably will with age. The good news is, thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and pet nutrition, our faithful companions are now living longer and healthier lives.
When Is Your Pet a Senior?
Every 365 days, we will age one year, while our pets will age between five to seven years. Dogs are considered to be seniors at the age of 7, while for cats, it’s 8. If you’re curious about how old your dog or cat is in human years, simply look at the appropriate species chart below:
As pets grow older, subtle changes may begin to take place. For example, it is common for dogs and cats to experience a decrease in mobility. Your pet may not move as quickly as he or she used to and may also have trouble getting on the furniture. As with humans, more serious issues can arise with age. These include:
- Weight gain or obesity
- Heart, kidney, thyroid, and liver diseases
- Dental problems and periodontal disease
- Behavioral problems
The key to controlling these potential health problems is early detection. That’s why at Bay Country Veterinary Hospital, we recommend that our senior patients have a complete physical exam at least twice each year.
Senior Pet Wellness Exams
During these semi-annual check-ups, our veterinarians and staff will conduct a full nose-to-tail exam, as they do for all pets. In addition, a complete blood count and serum chemistry panel may be performed, along with a thyroid test, in order to obtain baseline measurements for your pet. Should any changes take place between exams, this data will be extremely helpful when it comes to diagnosing potential problems.
Our veterinarians may also perform additional senior wellness tests as needed, such as:
- Blood pressure measurement
- Eye pressure measurement
- Abdominal radiographs
- Thoracic (chest) radiographs
Bay Country Veterinary Hospital is fully equipped to perform these veterinary diagnostic tests in-house, so your pet will receive quality care in a timely manner.
Senior wellness exams are also a perfect opportunity for you to discuss any issues your pet may be having, including:
- Changes in eating or drinking
- Cat or dog arthritis symptoms
- Weight gain or loss
- Lumps or bumps
- Bad breath
- Sudden behavior changes (which may be indicative of pain)
Our veterinarians will take the time to listen to any concerns you may have and work with you to determine the best course of action. If pet pain relief is needed, we will determine and prescribe the most appropriate medication available based on your pet’s species, medical condition, and the root cause of the problem. Because we have a full-service pharmacy on site, we are able to quickly fill any prescriptions needed for cat or dog pain relief.
At Bay Country Veterinary Hospital, we value our senior patients and their families. We will do everything we can to ensure as many happy and healthy years together as possible.
If you would like to learn more about some of the pet health issues discussed here, please visit our Pet Care Handouts and Pet Care Videos sections. Of course, you are also welcome to contact us any time. We’re happy to be of service!