Preventive Care: Senior Wellness
Our goal at Village Veterinary Practice is to provide the very best care throughout your pet’s life. This is especially important as your pet enters into his or her senior years. Dogs and cats age more rapidly than people do, with the last 5 years of their life equaling 40 years of human aging. Therefore, it is important to understand how the aging process may be affecting your pet. Cats and dogs weighing less than fifty pounds are considered senior patients at seven years of age. Dogs greater than fifty pounds are seniors at age five.
The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners indicates that a senior patient benefits from twice-yearly examinations. Similar to humans, senior animals start to develop diseases such as diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, hypothyroidism and cancer. These diseases can go unnoticed in their early stages and many will develop rapidly, making regular monitoring and blood testing very important.
Your senior pet should be examined every six months and will be coordinated with his/her vaccination schedule. During your pet’s senior visit, we will perform a comprehensive physical exam, weigh and assess body condition, and specifically discuss senior associated problems and diseases. We may also recommend performing a complete metabolic blood panel, complete urinalysis, monitor blood pressure, and screen for glaucoma. The goals of our senior wellness program are to:
- Prevent or delay the onset of disease.
- Identify and address existing problems as early as possible.
- Maintain body weight and condition.
- Maintain excellent quality of life.
These are signs that should be reported to us immediately, before they become serious:
- Altered sleeping patterns
- Bad breath, red/swollen gums
- Changes in bowel movements
- Changing behavior or activity level
- Changing hair coat or skin
- Difficulty climbing stairs
- Difficulty jumping
- Excessive panting
- House training accidents
- Increased/Decreased appetite
- Increased/Decreased urination
- Increased/Decreased water intake
- Interacting less often with family
- Less enthusiastic
- New lumps or bumps
- Noticeably gaining or losing weight
- Scratching more often
- Stiffness or limping
- Tremors or shaking
Wouldn’t it be nice if your pet could talk to you and tell you how he/she was feeling? Since that’s not the case, your observations are an essential part in keeping your pet well. To prepare for your pet’s visit, feel free to complete this questionnaire and and submit it to us when you’re done. If you don’t have time to fill it out, don’t worry, we’ll ask these questions during the appointment!