Changes in Senior Pets

Senior Pet Care

Due to advances in technology and veterinary medicine, pets are able to live longer than ever before. With this increase in lifespan, however, comes the probability of your pet developing diseases or conditions specific to seniors. Age-related changes may include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Kidney, heart, or liver disease
  • Tumors and cancers
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Weight increase or decrease
  • Mobility challenges
  • Behavioral concerns, such as irritability or aggression
  • Dental disease

To guide veterinary hospitals like ours in developing optimal health care plans for senior pets, the AAHA has issued a set of Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. These guidelines challenge veterinarians to raise the bar when caring for senior pets.

Senior Health Exams

Scheduling regular pet wellness visits is one of the most important steps for an owner of a mature pet. Senior care is needed to catch and delay the onset or progress of disease, and for the early detection of problems such as organ failure and osteoarthritis.

The AAHA recommends that healthy senior dogs and cats visit the veterinarian every six months for a complete exam and laboratory testing. Keep in mind that every year for a dog or cat is equivalent to 5-7 human years. To stay current with your senior pet's health care, twice-a-year exams are strongly advised.

Laboratory testing for senior pets will typically include the following:

  • Urinalysis
  • Complete blood count
  • Blood-chemistry panel
  • Parasite testing

Other tests may be required, especially if your dog or cat is displaying signs of illness or discomfort. Our diagnostic skills and equipment, combined with your careful observations and reporting, result in successful diagnosis and treatment for many age-related concerns.

Read the AAHA guidelines for Senior Pet Care referenced above.

“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.”
— Colette