Senior pet care by your Vail Valley Veterinarian

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Senior pet care by your Vail Valley Veterinarian

As our pet’s age, it is inevitable that they will develop age-related diseases that need to be treated.  It’s very important that you, as a pet owner, are always on the lookout for changes in your pets and that you have a talk with your veterinarian regarding what you can do for your pet to address their special needs as they get older.

Small cats and dogs are considered “geriatric” around the age of 7 years; larger breed dogs age faster and are considered “geriatric” around the age of 6.  Similar to humans, pets are prone to developing certain conditions as they age.  Common examples include diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease and organ dysfunction.  It is also not uncommon for a pet to develop cognitive dysfunction and dulling of the senses such as hearing and sight. 

At our hospital, we recommend a bi-annual senior wellness check in geriatric pets in order to stay on top of any condition that they may be developing.  Senior bloodwork is a very useful tool used to pick up on any signs of disease.  We can identify many conditions this way and establish a treatment plan in order to keep your pet in the best shape possible for as long as possible.

A senior wellness check will also include a full physical exam, which can identify conditions such as arthritis.  Mobility becomes an issue as pets age and we can help establish a plan to keep your pet moving in the least amount of discomfort as possible.  Veterinarians have the ability to recommend things that can combat arthritic changes such as joint supplements and joint diets – both of which are meant to allow your pet to be as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.    

Older pets often need foods that are catered to their special needs as they age.  Senior veterinary diets often have different calorie levels, are more easily digestible and frequently have anti-aging nutrients in them.  There are also diets that are specific for arthritic joints that can be very beneficial for your pet.

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.   Every pet owner dreads the idea of their beloved animal being diagnosed with “the C word”.  Your veterinarian has the ability to pick up on lumps and bumps that may indicate a malignant lesion, bloodwork also has the ability to indicate this type of disease.  In addition, your veterinarian can make recommendations that can help prevent cancer from happening. 

There is no reason why an aging pet can’t remain a healthy, active part of your family’s life.  Have a talk with your veterinarian about what you can do together to be sure they remain healthy and happy. 

We look forward to seeing you!