Special Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
In order to ensure that our elderly pets continue to enjoy a high quality of life even as they get older, it is important to provide them with preventative veterinary care on a regular basis as well as early diagnosis throughout their senior years.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinarians are here to help geriatric pets in Bailieboro achieve optimal health by identifying and treating emerging health issues early and providing proactive treatment while they can still be effectively and easily managed.
Typical Health Problems
Due to improved dietary options and better veterinary care, companion cats and dogs are living far longer today than they have in the past.
While this is certainly a cause for celebration, pet owners and veterinarians now face the challenge of managing more age-related conditions in pets than they did previously.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog reaches their golden years, several joint or bone disorders can result in pain and discomfort. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pets that our veterinarians see include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Addressing these issues early on is critical to keeping your dog comfortable as they age. Treatment for joint and bone problems in senior dogs can range from simply reducing exercise levels to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints, or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.
Cats' osteoarthritis symptoms are more subtle than those of dogs. While cats' range of motion may be reduced, the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats are weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. Cat owners are less likely to report lameness than dog owners.
It is believed that approximately 50% of all pets die from cancers. That's why your senior pet needs to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.
Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups, even if they appear healthy, allows your veterinarian to look for early signs of cancer and other diseases that respond better to treatment if caught early.
- Heart Disease
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease affects cats less than dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is fairly common. The walls of a cat's heart thicken as a result of this condition, reducing the heart's ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are caused by aging, they may appear gradually, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behaviour and making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and can be caused by high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and increased thirst are all symptoms of liver disease in cats.
Liver disease in dogs can cause several serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is essential.
Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, the majority of dogs are diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 10 years old, and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over the age of 6.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
The kidneys of pets tend to fail as they age. In some cases, medications used to treat other common conditions in geriatric pets can cause kidney disease.
While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Bailieboro veterinarians frequently see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract disorders and incontinence issues. Elderly pets are more prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but incontinence can also be a sign of a larger health problem, such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our veterinarians will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask detailed questions about their home life, and perform any tests that may be necessary to gain additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
Based on the findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that can potentially include medications, activities and dietary changes that may help improve your senior pet's health, well-being and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is critical for your senior pet's health, happiness, and fulfillment. It also allows our veterinarians to detect diseases earlier.
Early detection of disease will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they develop into long-term problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance of quality long-term health.