As our pets age, not only do their appearances change, but so do their health needs. During this stage of their life, it is important to monitor their health closely at home. Cats are especially good at hiding illness as long as possible, until it has progressed and may no longer be treated easily.
One of the most important aspects of senior pet care relates to diet considerations. As your pet reaches a senior age, their nutritional needs change dramatically, so we recommend feeding a formulated high-quality senior diet. Your senior pet may begin having appetite changes and we want to know as soon as that begins. It will make monitoring for these changes much easier if your pet is comfortable eating meals rather than free feeding.
Identifying age-related illness early gives the best opportunity for beneficial treatment. Because of this, your senior pet should be examined at least twice yearly, or more frequently if they have a chronic disease. Not only may your pet give signs of a problem that your veterinarian may notice, they will also track weight, body condition, or other small changes from visit to visit that may indicate an underlying issue.
Annually, blood work with a urinalysis should be done to monitor critical values that will be invaluable to assist your veterinarian in identifying problems early. A check on your pet’s liver and kidney function as well as early signs of diabetes, cancer, and other potential problems will be identified using periodic bloodwork. Thyroid diseases also commonly affect elderly pets so a thyroid panel can be done annually to identify abnormalities before your pet shows clinical signs.
Elderly pets also often suffer from arthritis. Your senior pet deserves to be as comfortable as possible and we have many methods to improve inflammation and pain that results from damaged joints. If we start treatment early, we will be able to prevent progression of this debilitating disease and avoid severe and untreatable disease in the future.
One of our dedicated staff will help answer your questions or schedule a visit with our veterinarian, please contact us today.