Just as people age and become high risk for certain health problems, as animals age, they too, become high risk for certain diseases and ailments, things like osteoarthritis, diabetes, diseases affecting the heart, kidneys and liver, tumors and cancer. As your pets age we recommend bi-‐annual visits to more closely monitor your pet’s health. The visits can include blood tests specific to certain diseases, and observing and treating current conditions.
Our aim is to give your animal the best quality of life possible, for as long as possible.
With this increased lifespan comes an increase in the types of ailments that can afflict senior pets. Senior pets undergo aging changes in organs and tissues the same as do elderly humans. Just as the health care needs of humans change as we age, the same applies to pets. It is well known that senior pets have a higher incidence of such conditions as major organ failure, benign and malignant tumors, arthritis, and loss of special senses (especially hearing and vision). Older animals also develop more severe dental disease as they increase in age.
A comprehensive evaluation is clearly the best way to detect subclinical diseases or to find increased risk factors of diseases in senior patients. It has been repeatedly documented that many of the chronic disorders and disease processes seen in senior pets can be either cured or at least medically controlled if they are detected early enough. Earlier detection and prompt treatment of medical conditions improves the chances that senior pets will live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Detecting many diseases are very difficult by exams alone. Many animals mask signs of illness from the owners until it is considered chronic. Early detection of any disease process is vital in our attempts to cure or manage the disease so your pets’ high quality of life may continue. It is important to remember that age is NOT a disease; it is a manifestation of the body’s diminished repair response. If your pet is losing weight, having difficulty chewing, getting up slower, not jumping any more, not as playful, not eating well, drinking more water, or any other change in behavior, there is likely a reason for this other than age.
Since our pets cannot always tell us when they feel ill, scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the most important steps pet owners can take to keep their pets in good health. When dogs and cats enter their senior years, examinations are more important than ever. We recommend that healthy senior pets visit the veterinarian every six months for a complete exam and undergo laboratory testing annually. With this in mind, it is important to remember that every year for a dog or cat is equivalent to 5-7 human years.