Geriatric Pets

Senior Wellness -- Old age is NOT a disease

Did you know that most pets reach their senior years around 7 years of age? Itʼs hard to believe that they were just puppies or kittens just a few short years ago, but time takes its toll on our pets even more quickly than it does on us! It is important to remember that old age is not a disease and quality of life does not have to suffer because “Buddy is just old”.

The surprising thing that many people donʼt know is that the aging process begins long before the physical or behavioral signs make an appearance. Metabolism, organ, and brain function begin slowing, as does their response to disease. With frequent physical examinations (every 6 months), annual lab work, and relevant diagnostics, diseases can be prevented, treated, and caught earlier.

The following conditions are just some examples of illnesses senior patients are more prone to and what we can do for them:

Kidney Insufficiency/Failure -- This can be managed in the early stages with prescription diet alone. Later in the course of the disease, medications can be added to slow the deterioration, help maintain adequate weight, and improve overall well-being.

Heart disease -- There are great medications and diets available to prolong life with a good quality for up to 2 years after the initial diagnosis of heart failure. However, most often heart disease is diagnosed long before heart failure and can be managed with diet alone, as well as 6-month examinations to monitor the course of the disease.

Cognitive Dysfunction & Senility -- With this brain change it is important to catch early to head off the progression. Physical examinations and a thorough history help us diagnose the early stages and allow us to slow down the progression with diet, antioxidants, and other medications.

Osteoarthritis -- This should not be ignored! Pain from chronic arthritis is significant and will slowly deteriorate your petʼs quality and quantity of life. Muscle wasting/atrophy, inappropriate urinating/ defecating, anorexia, and inability to walk are all things that can occur with osteoarthritis. We can manage this with appropriate pain medication, supplements, diet, Class IV Laser therapy, Shockwave, and physical rehabilitation.

Endocrine Diseases -- Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Addisonʼs, and Cushingʼs syndrome are all best managed when caught early. All are treated with pharmaceutical medication +/- diet.

Dental Disease -- All pets need their teeth brushed

and professionally cleaned, but it is even more pertinent as they get into their senior years. Dental

problems and infection not only make your pet uncomfortable, painful, and lethargic, but exacerbate and cause other illnesses.

Tumors -- Many senior pets develop lumps and bumps on their body, most of which are benign. However, if we can catch the bad ones (malignant) early, we can significantly prolong their life, if not cure them of the cancer.

Senior pets need just as much care, if not more, than their young counterparts. Veterinary medicine is constantly evolving and changing, giving us more options and abilities to prolong our pet companionʼs lives. We have the luxury of being able to make and keep them comfortable during their golden years.


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