We love Senior Pet’s!!! They have given so much joy and love in their lives, it’s their turn for a little extra TLC!!!
There has been much discussion on what is considered a “senior” and newer terms for defining our older pets. Mature, Geriatric, Senior, Senior Age Defying (Cats), Mature Large Breeds (Dogs) are some of the words used to describe these wonderful pets!!! According to the AVMA, cats and dogs are generally considered senior at 7 but it varies.
We, here at the clinic, recommend starting Senior Wellness at 7 years old. What is Senior Wellness??? Our Senior Wellness Protocol is:
- Bi-Annual Physical Exams
- Baseline Lab work
- At Least 2 Weight Checks a Year
- Baseline Radiographs
- Dental Exams, and Cleanings
- Nutritional Coaching
The reasons we have these protocols is to give LOVE back to our pets! Baselines, and Exams gives us the chance to prevent disease, catch and manage diseases in the early stages. This is to provide good quality of life into their golden years. Some diseases that effect senior pets are:
- Periodontal Disease
- Renal (Kidney) Disease
- Heart Disease
Periodontal disease and obesity can be prevented through Exercising (ie. Walking, and “Hunting”), Nutritional Coaching, Dental Exams and Cleanings, At Home Dental Care and PLAYING. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily is the most effective way to clean them and keep them healthy. We realize that this is not always possible (or even doable with some pets!!!), but every little bit you do at home will have a positive impact on dental health. There are dental wipes, treats, diets, water additives available to help prevent periodontal disease. Weight has a big influence on arthritis, and diabetes. Arthritis effects dogs and cats similar to people. It causes pain and discomfort, and may change behavior. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly (swimming is great for arthritic dogs), and baseline radiographs help us to stay ahead of Arthritis. Supplements are available to help protect healthy joints, and Prescription Medications are available to relieve pain and inflammation. Diabetes, Renal, Liver, and Heart Disease are best managed if caught in the early stages. Baseline followed up by routine lab work ensures that we catch these disease in the early stages. Between dietary changes and medications, pet’s are able to live with diseases longer while ensuring a good quality of life. This allows you and your pet to make more great memories!!!
Because you know your pet the best, there are things to look for as they age at home. Keeping a log, or simply marking it on the calendar, will help in remember/noticing changes. It’s important to share these things at YOUR PET’s BI-ANNUAL EXAM with us (your pet’s veterinary team).
Things to watch for at home:
- An Increase IN:
- A Decrease IN:
- Interest in Playing or Normal Activity
- Changes in:
- Sleeping spots/patterns
- Not Normal Self
Together, as a team, we can keep the SUPER SENIOR(S) in your family loving their GOLDEN YEARS!!!