Today’s cats and dogs are living longer than ever, and with attentive veterinary care they can live better than ever. Despite advancing years, your pet can enjoy an excellent quality of life. Your senior’s continued health is important to us, and we’ll provide the care your valued senior companion deserves.
Changes are natural—just like us, as they grow older, our pets can slow down and may experience a decline in vigor. It’s not always easy to tell the difference between “normal” aging and a medical problem. The veterinary professionals at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center are trained in the aging process and practice effective senior pet health care.
Older animals are more vulnerable to disorders and illness, such as dental disease, arthritis and joint pain, cancers, diabetes, hypertension, organ and metabolic diseases, and cognitive changes.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine for Senior Pets
To counter age-related illnesses, we’ll want to be especially proactive with your senior pet’s health. Starting at eight years of age, more frequent exams and lab work will be advised. Routine lab tests can reveal the first inklings of abnormality—our goal is to arrest these conditions before clinical signs of disease develop.
Regrettably, diseases can pop up in just a number of months and progress beyond treatment very quickly in animals. That why it is important to keep your scheduled wellness exams.
The following tests provide key indicators for health:
Complete blood count (CBC)
Measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a given sample of blood. CBC tests identify infections and a number of health problems.
Blood chemistry panel
Chemistry panels measure electrolytes, enzymes, and chemical elements such as calcium and phosphorous. This information helps your veterinarian determine how various organs, such as the kidneys, pancreas, and liver, are currently functioning.
A measurement of the dilution or concentration of urine is also helpful in diagnosing diseases. Urinalysis can diagnose urinary tract infections, diabetes, dehydration, kidney problems, and many other conditions.
Managing Senior Pet Pain
Animals often hide their pain. Yet, since you know your animal best, it’s likely you’ll be the first to spot evidence of discomfort. Be on the look-out for signs and contact us to schedule an examination.
Our veterinarians understand the use of medications and supplements to control pain, as well as how multiple therapies can benefit patients. Preventing and managing pain has become a fundamental part of quality and compassionate patient care in veterinary medicine.
Canine and Feline Arthritis
About 20% of all adult dogs in the United States suffer from arthritis. Developing slowly over time, arthritis is painful and affects even the simplest of movements (standing up, climbing stairs, or walking). Although seen less often, senior cats are also more susceptible to arthritis. Arthritis can also set into old injuries.
Signs of Arthritis
Sometimes arthritis, particularly in the early stages, is difficult to spot. If your cat or dog shows lameness, stiffness, or decreased activity, it is important to address it.
Have you noticed your pet is:
- Slow to rise or lay down?
- Refuses or is hesitant to jump or go upstairs?
- No longer lifts leg to urinate?
- Walks while trying to defecate?
- Lags behind on walks?
Joint pain in cats may be demonstrated by lapsed litter box habits or changes in grooming (the routine movements required may now cause pain).
Caught early, arthritis can be controlled and the pain managed. Treatment options include diet, weight control, nutraceuticals, NSAIDs, and other medications such as Adequan.
Older pets make wonderful companions, and thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, the “golden years” can be happy ones. Your old friend has earned the right to a long, comfortable, and active life. Contact our hospital to make an appointment today.