Advances in veterinary care and nutrition, plus loving care by owners have resulted in an increase in the number of senior pets. A recent study of Canadian pets shows that 35% of cats and 33% of dogs are over 8 years of age and could be considered geriatric while less than 8% are less than 1 year of age. Therefore is seems clear that we, as veterinarians, should be focusing as much, if not more, attention on our senior patients as we do on puppies and kittens.
Unfortunately pets age much faster than people do and, as part of their survival instinct, they often will show no overt signs that they are ill until a disease has progressed to the point where they can no longer hide it. Early diagnosis contributes to a much better prognosis.
In January of 2005, we instituted a Senior Care Program at Alta Vista. It’s a new way to care for your pets as they age. Medical advancements have enabled us to diagnosis potential diseases early on. Some of the most common diseases afflicting older pets include kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections and liver disease. Catching diseases early can add years to your pet’s life. For example, kidney disease is one of the major causes of illness and death in both dogs and cats, however symptoms do not usually present themselves until a pet has lost 75% of their kidney function. If caught in the early phases, your pet can live with this condition for many years and sometimes a change as simple as altering their diet can make a huge difference in duration and quality of life.
- Twice yearly visits for pets over the age of 8
A year in a pet’s life is equivalent to 5 or 6 years in human’s life. As a result, a year between visits can prove too lengthy. When you live with your pet day in and day out, subtle changes in their weight, behavior or overall heath can easily be missed.Furthermore, because pets are so good at masking signs of illness, even a devoted pet owner can miss if a pet is drinking out of the toilet more often, eating a bit less food or sleeping more when you are not home.
- Annual Wellness Testing
Apart from the actual physical exam, Wellness Testing gives us the opportunity to see how things are functioning internally with a pet that may outwardly look very healthy. By evaluating a blood and urine sample on a once a year basis, we can pick up abnormalities in organ function or urinary tract health before the pet shows symptoms. As well, should the bloodwork come back normal, we now have a baseline to compare to should the pet present with an illness in the future.
We have introduced a Senior Care Program at Alta Vista. It’s a new way to care for your pets as they age. Medical advancements have enabled us to diagnosis potential diseases early on. Some of the most common diseases afflicting older pets include kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections and liver disease. Catching diseases early can add years to your pet’s life.
We recommend that you book an appointment with one of our veterinarians to discuss your pet’s health and the goals you are looking to achieve with your pet.
Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever before. However with this increased lifespan comes an increase in the types of ailments that can afflict senior pets. As pets reach the golden years, there are a variety of conditions and diseases that they can face, including weight and mobility changes; osteoarthritis; kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; hormone disorders such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance; and many others.
Just as the health care needs of humans change as we age, the same applies to pets. It’s critical for pet owners to work closely with their veterinarian to devise a health plan that is best for their senior pet.