Celebrating Senior Pets

As many of you are already aware we, at the Mountain Road Animal Hospital, are focusing on our Senior pets for the Months of October & November.

Just as with humans, our pets’ senior health is taken VERY seriously. Small medical issues can turn into huge issues if they are not addressed quickly. Certain diseases, such as Kidney disease cannot be stopped, however, the progression of the disease CAN be slowed down to give you and your pet more time together, IF it is caught and managed early.

Senior blood work is critical in detecting disease processes in their early stages. It is recommended that seniors have blood tests done every 6-12 months to pick up on or follow the progression of the disease. Urine testing can also detect certain diseases as well, ie: Diabetes, Kidney disease, etc. So a simple collection from you at home (or from us here at the hospital) can be key to helping keep your pet healthy.

Above all else, physical exams are also critical. As our pets age, their teeth and bones do as well. Did you know that a small tooth infection from a bad tooth (this happens more often than you think!) can cause a massive facial abscess and even lead to death? Most people think that since lions and wolves don’t see the dentist that their pets shouldn’t either. Wolves and Lions often do not live until 15-20 years of age either and their diet is a lot different from what our domestic pets eat. That makes a HUGE difference in dental health.

Our senior pets also DO suffer from Arthritis (almost ALL cats over the age of 12 suffer from arthritis). Many pets are quite stoic and hide their pain well. You may not be aware of, or even think that your pet may be in pain. A painful pet isn’t always aggressive (which is what many people tend to watch for).

Here are some key things to watch for in our senior pets:

• Inability and/or Reluctance to eat
• Vomiting or Regurgitation
• Changes in bathroom habits
• Slowing down or reduction in physical activity
• Changes in skin/coat
• Changes in behavior (social pet suddenly becomes reclusive or reclusive pet becomes overly social)

Here’s to many happy, healthy years with our Senior furry family members!

Written by Lisa Michalik, RVT