Most pet owners want to keep their loved pets around for as long as possible. The way to keep senior pets with us longer is by providing good medical and preventative treatment.
Your veterinarian should see senior pets twice a year instead of just once. Since medical care of our senior pets has advanced, our dogs and cats are suffering from some of the same types of diseases we humans suffer from. Disease such as Diabetes, Cancer, Liver and intestinal problems, Kidney Failure and Arthritis are some of the disease of the elderly pet. Just as human medical science has advanced in the care and treatment of these types of senior diseases so has medical care for our dogs and cats.
When your dog or cat become older it will be necessary that they receive more extensive exams when having a visit with the veterinarian. If elderly pets begin to show signs of distress such as painful walking, eating less, eye issues, or other noticeable things, owners need to keep a list so they can bring these to the veterinarian’s attention when having their bi-annual exam.
Your pet’s veterinarian will do hands on examination of your dog or cat by feeling their musculoskeletal system, abdomen, head and neck and lymph areas. Listen to your pet’s heart and lungs; check eyes, ears and teeth. Once this hand on exam is complete the veterinarian will discuss any further treatment or preventative care needed. It may be necessary for the veterinarian to perform some blood work, urinalysis and even at times x-rays to be sure that a senior pet is healthy.
There may be suggested changes in wellness care by your veterinarian such as a change in flea and intestinal parasite control, dental cleanings and perhaps heartworm testing and prevention. Your veterinarian will also discuss perhaps other vaccinations or preventative shots and treatments for an elderly dog or cat that may differ from the younger animals preventative vaccinations.
Elderly dogs and cats can suffer from dental issues and disease more often than a young dog or cat. Watch for bad breath, drooling, pawing at mouth and difficulty eating, if these are evident an appointment with the veterinarian is necessary to correct the mouth issues of an elderly dog or cat.
Other signs of failing general health in elderly dogs and cats can be, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, diarrhea or vomiting, skin lumps and bumps, ear odors, and lameness, just to mention a few. The best way to care for your elderly dog or cat is by following your veterinarian’s advice and being aware of the animal’s behavior and body language.