To help your senior cat or dog maintain a high quality of life as they continue to get older, you need to provide them with routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis during their golden years.
Proactive care has the ability to extend your animal companion's life and good health as they age, so it's essential for them to attend regular wellness exams, even if they appear to be healthy.
Our veterinarians are available to help geriatric pets in Monroe achieve optimal health by finding and treating arising health conditions early, and providing them with the appropriate treatments while we can still easily and effectively manage them.
Because of the improvements being made to dietary options and the higher quality of veterinary care available, companion cats and dogs are living longer today than they ever have before.
While this is something to celebrate, veterinarians and pet owners are now facing more age-related conditions than they have before as well.
Below we discuss some of the conditions senior pets are typically more prone to:
As your dog enters their senior years, there are several joint or bone disorders that can cause them pain and discomfort. A few of the more common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pets are growth plate disorders, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and arthritis.
It's essential to have these issues attended early to help keep your dog comfortable as they continue to get older. Treatments for joint and bone conditions in senior dogs can include reducing levels of exercise, the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is generally a condition we associate with older dogs, this painful condition could also affect the joints of your senior cat.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in their range of motion the symptoms of osteoarthritis we see most often in geriatric cats include loss of appetite, weight loss, change in general attitude, depression, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and an inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness often seen in dogs isn't usually reported by cat owners.
It is believed that approximately 50% of all cats and dogs in the US die from some form of cancer. This makes routine wellness exams at your veterinarian's office very important for your pet as they age.
Taking your geriatric pet to the vet for routine checkups (even when they seem healthy) provides your veterinarian with the chance to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases that respond better to treatments when they are diagnosed in their earliest stages.
Similar to people, heart disease can be problematic for senior pets.
Geriatric dogs often suffer from congestive heart failure, which develops when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, leading to a fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease isn't seen as often in cats as in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition makes the walls of a cat’s heart thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function properly.
Degeneration in the ears and eyes can cause varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, however, this condition is seen more often in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are age-related they can develop slowly, providing geriatric pets with time to adjust their behavior, making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
Liver disease is relatively common in senior cats and could develop as a 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 handful of serious symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and seizures.
If your senior cat or dog is showing any symptoms of liver disease it is essential that you get them veterinary care quickly.
Even though cats and dogs can develop diabetes at any time in their lives, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years old.
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 get older, their kidneys tend to lose their function. Occasionally, kidney disease can arise as the result of the medications used to treat other conditions that are in elderly pets.
While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
Our Monroe vets often see elderly cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence problems. Geriatric pets can be at a higher risk of having accidents as the muscles controlling their bladder become weaker, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of bigger health issues such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence problems it's essential to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a complete examination.
Our vets will completely examine your senior cat or dog, inquire for detail about their home life, and perform any tests that might be needed to gain additional insights into their overall physical health and condition.
Depending on what our vets find, we'll recommend a treatment plan that could potentially consist of medications, activities, and dietary changes that could help improve the health, well-being, and comfort of your senior pet.
Preventive care is an important part of helping your senior pet have a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life. It also provides our veterinarians the opportunity to find any diseases early.
Detecting diseases early will help preserve the physical health of your senior pet and catch emerging health issues before they turn into long-term problems.
With routine physical examinations, your cat or dog will have their best chance at high-quality long-term health.
The vets at Monroe Veterinary Clinic are currently accepting new patients! Our hard-working vets truly care about the health of your cats and dogs. Contact us today to schedule your furry friend's first appointment.