Senior Canine and Feline Care with Comprehensive Pain Management

Senior Pet CareBy taking the time to learn more about the special needs of your senior pet, you have taken the first step toward ensuring your companion leads a healthy and happy life for many years to come.

Pets in their senior years, those of about seven years of age and older, begin to go through a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities. This process can be slowed and managed through proper veterinary care thereby offering your beloved pet an extended period of vitality and good health. Additionally, preventive care tailored to your pet's age, lifestyle, risk factors and other elements can help prevent common diseases or detect them at early and easily treatable stages.

There is also an important role for you to play as your pet's primary caregiver. While you cannot control age-related decline, you can influence your pet's activity level, living conditions, access to quality senior veterinary care, and daily nutrition. With your veterinarian's help, you can manage these factors in order to prolong your pet's good health, vitality, and increase his or her wellbeing, even as his or her pace slows a bit.

At Countryside Veterinary Hospital, we offer personalized service to address the specific needs of older dogs and cats. This plan provides the owner and veterinarian with a baseline to monitor your pet at a time when small changes can be detected and health problems can be identified before they become serious concerns or even life threatening.

Our senior plan includes:

  • Glaucoma check
  • Complete blood count
  • Complete urinalysis
  • Heartworm test
  • Abdominal and chest radiographs
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Full chemistry blood panel
  • Internal parasite test
  • Thyroid test
  • Electrocardiogram as recommended

These tests are not time intensive or difficult to do and can be performed during routine wellness exams.

Health care for Senior dog, Senior catDon't mistake signs of illness with signs of aging:

  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urine production
  • Changes in appetite
  • Behavior changes (more or less sleep than usual, crying out, irritation, lethargy)
  • Constipation
  • House training failure in a previously trained pet
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Marked increase or decrease in weight
  • Bad breath
  • Open sores or lumps/bumps anywhere on the body

How does a geriatric exam differ from my pet's usual exam?

A geriatric exam is more extensive than a simple check-up. Our veterinarians conduct a standard physical examination as well as oral and rectal examinations every six months.

Along with these standard exams, we also examine your pet's ears, eyes, and thyroid glands. Some laboratory work may be done, including a complete blood count and a urinalysis; however, endocrine and other laboratory tests may be performed if your veterinarian feels that it's necessary. It is important to establish a baseline of normal values for your pet in order to readily identify changes.

Even if your pet seems perfectly healthy, regular geriatric check-ups are important to manage many of the changes associated with aging. Dogs and cats over seven years of age should be examined by a veterinarian twice a year. The incidence of cancer increases with age.

A complete geriatric health maintenance program can provide a way to target age-related health problems, institute preventive health care measures, and detect any disorders early enough to provide the appropriate medical attention. This program also educates you, the pet owner, on health risks to your older pet and includes preventive steps.

All of these components as well as following your veterinarian's recommendations for exercise, administration of any medication, and a proper diet are essential to the health and quality of life of your older pet.