Our Goal for Senior Care
We want to help you maintain the highest quality of life for your pet. Together, we can make the senior years the most rewarding years for you and your pets.
A pet’s life schedule is very different than ours. At six months they are like teenagers, and by seven years of age they have rolled into their senior years. At CPAH, we focus on the health status of those over seven because we find that many aging disease complexes start being exhibited then. Because of this, we recommend a minimal amount of lab tests that may show there are hidden diseases that need attention. About 20% of senior patients will have a disease entity that was not obvious on a physical exam, and that needs medical attention now.
Schedule exams and diagnostic workups every 6 months
Schedule a comprehensive exam and diagnostic workup every 6 months so signs of illness or other problems can be detected early and treated. Senior pet exams are similar to those for younger pets, but are more in depth, including bloodwork, possible dental care and specific checks for physical signs of diseases that are more likely in older pets. In general, the earlier a problem is discovered and therapy initiated, the better the chance of a favorable outcome. While many illnesses are incurable, early intervention and treatment may help slow the progression of a disease, relieve pain and keep your pet comfortable longer.
Change to a senior diet
As animals age, their bodies’ nutritional needs change. Senior pets generally require fewer calories and less fat than adult pets do. Increased fiber may help maintain proper function of the digestive system. Most pet food companies offer a reduced-calorie or senior diet made especially for aging pets. One of our veterinarians can recommend a diet specially formulated for older pets.
Be an alert pet owner
Many diseases of senior pets are due to the slow, almost imperceptible deterioration of organs or systems. Unless you are extremely observant, many of these conditions may go unnoticed until the problem has deteriorated into the final stages. Careful observation of behavior, mobility, hearing, vision, hair coat, appetite, thirst, urination habits, defecation habits, weight changes and other aspects of your pet’s daily routine can help you notice differences or abnormalities if or when they begin to surface. Early diagnosis and initiation of treatment may be of critical importance to your pets’ future and quality of life.
In summary, it's important to be aware that pets age much faster than humans. However, if given special care and attention during the senior years, we can help them live a healthier, happier and longer life.
In the Exam Room: Preventive Care Visits -- American Veterinary Medical Association
Elderly Pets and Your Veterinarian -- American Veterinary Medical Association