Pets these days are living longer due to emphasis on preventative medicine, improved diets and high-quality medical care. While age is not a disease, senior pets do need a little more support in their golden years.
What qualifies a pet for the geriatric, or senior pet, title? For cats and small dogs, many consider 10 years of age senior, while medium and large dogs are considered the same at 7 years of age.
Aging changes are the result of the decline of the body’s resiliency, both mental and physical. As we age, cell production lessens, and as such, we are not as able to repair the body as quickly or thoroughly. We become more susceptible to infection and disease as our immune system becomes compromised.
Even without disease present, senior pets can struggle with other changes, which may include:
- Limitations in mobility
- Cognitive changes.
- Sleep pattern changes
- Decreased vision and hearing
- Thermoregulation issues
Many of these aging pets would benefit from basic medical care, including pain and/or anxiety medication, hygiene and mobility support. Our main goal for effective senior pet care is to enhance the quality of life of pets and their owners.
A senior pet wellness exam normally comprises of the following:
- Current body weight and muscle condition score assessment
- Nutrition/diet evaluation
- Vision assessment
- Orthopedic exam
- Evaluation of disease risk factors
- Appropriate preventative care
- Discussion of sleep patterns and changes in cognition
- Lab work to identify diminished organ function
At Edgemont, we offer in-home wellness exams if your senior pet has mobility or anxiety issues. If your pet is happy to travel, we are happy to see them at the clinic as well! A wellness exam with your veterinarian can help find ways to best manage your senior dogs and cats senior years, and be life-changing for your pet. It not only extends your pets’ lives, but the time they have can be lived with less pain, less anxiety and more love. Quality time, as well as quantity, is important to enjoying your furry companion and helping them live their best life.