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In Home Senior Pet Exams
When your dog reaches eight years of age (for very large breeds this occurs at 5 years) they are entering the “senior years” of their lives. For cats, this occurs a little later at about the age of 10. Although we do not think of the aging process as a disease in and of itself, the physiological changes associated with aging predispose pets to various disease processes. As animals age they are also more likely to develop multiple health problems. There is a great advantage to finding these problems and treating them early.
We recommend twice yearly health visits once they reach the mature years. Even in the absence of symptoms, we recommend blood tests and urinanalysis for these patients.
10 steps towards better mature pet health
1. Twice yearly house calls for mature pets even if they are in good health
2. Twice yearly blood tests (which may also include urine analysis)
3. Provide an enriched environment where pet has age appropriate things to play with.
4. Schedule an appointment if pet has a change in appetite or water drinking-these are non specific signs of a multitude of senior medical problems.
5. Schedule an appointment if your pet has decreased appetite older pets may have dental disease or other medical conditions which affect their appetite or cause them to lose weight.
6. Schedule an appointment if your pet has gained or lost weight-unless you have put your pet on a calorie restricted diet or you are intentionally feeding your pet more there is another reason for a weight change. Loss and gain of weight may indicate a hormonal problem , metabolic problem or something more serious.
7. Schedule an appointment if your pet is having difficulty walking or is reluctant to go to places in the house or outside the same way they used to-older pets are prone to degenerative joint disease (arthritis) which can be helped with medication, physical therapy and complementary forms of care.
8. Groom your pet regularly-older pets often have difficulty reaching some parts of their bodies to groom themselves. Your regular grooming will make it easier and alert you to any changes in their skin or coat.
9. Elevate their food bowls so that they can eat and drink without having to lower their heads to the ground.
10. Maintain a familiar routine and a stress fee environment.