An older dog riding in a wagon

As a pet ages, they are more susceptible to certain conditions and diseases, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, with proper veterinary care, good nutrition, ample exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, many pets live out their Golden Years with excellent health. 

Treating your older pet requires a big measure of preventive care. This includes diagnostic and lab testing and more frequent examinations. Your friends at The Bluffs Pet Clinic want to help you keep your older four-legged friends going strong through senior pet wellness care.

Why Senior Pets Need Specialized Care

Pets age at an average of 7 years to 1 year of human life. Although we would love for them to live forever, aging occurs more rapidly in pets. Most dogs are considered senior after they turn 7-8 years of age, although it is often more like 10 years in small breeds. Cats are considered senior after 9-10 years. 

During this time, the risk of certain diseases, such as kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis is higher. If your pet is considered senior, it doesn’t mean that they will develop these conditions, but it is also imperative to reduce the risk through preventive care.

Many pets, especially cats, are adept at hiding their pain or illness. Some diseases don’t produce visible symptoms until they have reached a more serious state. This is why more frequent examinations and blood tests are needed for earlier detection and treatment.

What Is Wellness Care for Pets?

Wellness care is a broad term for veterinary medicine that is prevention focused in nature. It looks at the individual pet and their entire well-being, from physical to behavioral or emotional. Each pet’s needs are unique to them, which is why we provide a personalized approach to preventive care.

Senior pet wellness is focused on the specific needs of this special life stage. Some of the components of wellness care for senior pets include:

  • Head to tail examination
  • Palpation of abdomen to assess organ health
  • Eye and ear health check
  • Dental examination 
  • Lab testing, including evaluation thyroid function, complete blood count, biochemistry profile looking for evidence of liver, heart, diabetes, and other conditions
  • Urinalysis and fecal screening
  • Blood pressure and other vitals
  • Diagnostic testing, such as X-ray and ultrasound
  • Nutrition and weight management
  • Cognition testing
  • Behavior consult

Each of these tests are ordered based on your pet’s risk, age, and overall health.

The reason behind the more thorough examination is to rule out diseases that are common among older fur friends. Some of these are cancer, heart disease, hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis or joint disease, kidney disease, periodontal disease, and diabetes, among others.

The Benefits of Senior Pet Wellness

All of us want our pets to live long, happy lives. Like us, however, as they age they need more attention to health care and supplemental needs. This is why prevention is the most important factor in longevity and vitality for your best friend.

If you would like more information on senior pet wellness or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.