In order to help your pet maintain a good quality of life as they age, senior dogs and cats need routine preventive care and early diagnosis all 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 veterinary team is here to help your geriatric pet to achieve and maintain their optimal healthy by identifying and treating health conditions as they emerge, providing proactive treatment while we are still able to effectively manage the condition.
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 worth celebrating, it also means that pet owners and their veterinarians also face more age-related conditions than they ever have before too.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
As your dog reaches their golden years, there are a number of joint or bone disorders that can result in pain and discomfort. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pets that our veterinarians see include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
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 geriatric pet in for routine checkups even when they seem healthy allows your veterinarian to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases, which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs will commonly suffer from congestive heart failure. This condition occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood effectively, causing a backup of fluid in the lungs, heart and chest cavity of the animal.
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.
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 develop in relation to an animal's age, they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behaviors to make it difficult for pet owners to notice the change.
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.
In dogs, liver disease can cause a series of serious symptoms from seizures and vomiting to fever, diarrhea, jaundice, weight loss and abdominal fluid buildup.
If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is essential.
Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years of age.
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.
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.
Our Grenada 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.
Our vets will provide a thorough examination of your senior pet, ask them about their home life in detail, and perform any required tests in order to gain additional insight into your companion's general health and well-being
Based on the findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that can potentially include medications, activities and dietary changes that may help improve your senior pet's health, well-being and comfort.
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 disease will help to preserve your pet's physical health and condition, catching health issues as they emerge and well before they have the chance to develop into long-term health problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.
Veterinary Associates is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Grenada companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.