Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
In order to help your pet to maintain a good quality of life as they age, senior pets require routine preventive veterinary care and proactive treatment of conditions throughout their golden years.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinarians are here to help your geriatric pet in South Lebanon to achieve and maintain their optimal healthy by identifying and treating their emergening health issues early and providing proactive treatments while their conditions are still easily and effectively managed.
Typical Health Problems
Due to improved dietary options and better veterinary care, companion cats and dogs are living far longer today than they have in the past.
While this is something to be celebrated, pet owners and vets now face more age-related conditions than every before too.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your pup reaches their golden years, there are a number of bone or joint disorders that may result in pain and discomfort for your dog. Some of the most common of these bone disorders in senior pets include arthritis, osteochondrosis, reduces flexibility in the spine, growth plate disorders and hip dysplasia.
Addressing these issues early is essential for keeping your dog comfortable as they continue to age. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs ranges from simply reducing levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in range of motion the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats include weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners.
It is believed that approximately 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. That's why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.
Bringing your senior pet in for a routine checkup even when they seem perfectly healthy is critical. It allows your vet to examine your pet for any early signs of cancer and any other diseases that respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs will commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, a condition that occurs when their heart doesn't efficiently pump blood. This causes a fluid backup in your pup's abdomen, lungs and heart.
While heart disease is seen less in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition causes the walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are age-related they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
In senior cats, liver disease is common and may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.
Liver disease in dogs can cause a number of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your senior cat or dog is displaying any symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is critical.
Although cats and dogs are able to develop diabetes at any age, most dogs are diagnosed around 7-10 years old. Most cats who are diagnosed are over the age of 6.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
As pets age, their kidneys tend to lose their function. In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.
While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our South Lebanon vets often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of a bigger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask about their home life in detail and perform any tests that may be required to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
Based on our findings, we will create a treatment plan for your senior pet that may include medications, dietary changes, specialized activities and more that can help improve and maintain your companion's wellbeing, health and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is essential to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. It also gives our veterinarians the opportunity to detect diseases early.
The early detection of diseases will help to preserve your pet's physical health as well as catch emerging health issues before they are able to develop into long-term problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.