Pets age faster than humans and, by approximately eight years of age, they are considered to have reached their golden years. Their medical needs can change more rapidly during this time, so it is important to maintain regular visits with our veterinary team.
Annual exams have been sufficient up until this point but, once your pet reaches senior status, these visits need to be more frequent. We recommend switching from annual to bi-annual visits, seeing your pet every six months. This allows our veterinary team to closely monitor and track any medical changes that may be occurring, before they lead to more serious conditions.
As your pet ages, a change in diet may be required. Aging can necessitate a need for additional nutrients, or softer food due to dental concerns. Our veterinary team discusses these changes with you and helps you select food that meets all of your mature pet’s needs.
As your pet ages, you may notice signs of decreased muscle mass and arthritis pain. Our physical therapy and rehabilitation program assists in improving flexibility, reducing pain, and decreasing the need for medication in senior pets.
Making Your House Senior Pet Accessible
You want your pet as comfortable and independent as possible. Simple changes within your household can assist in allowing them to do so.
Some suggested changes:
- Provide blankets and towels, or put a pet sweater on your pet, to help keep them warm.
- If they are allowed up on furniture or your bed, provide pet stairs to assist them.
- Make sure the bed is low to the ground and soft to ensure a good night’s sleep. We recommend therapeutic beds, or consider a mattress for your larger canine companion.
- If your senior companion has problems with arthritis, provide extra joint support via pet wheelchairs or support harnesses.
Silver Whiskers Program
Our Silver Whiskers Package is designed with your senior pet in mind. The program is more than just a physical examination; these exams cater to the special needs of your senior pet. The Silver Whiskers Package allows our veterinarians to check for senior-related medical concerns by:
- Monitoring blood work for early detection of diseases that may harm the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, endocrine system, lymphatic system, and gastrointestinal system;
- Performing a urinalysis to detect infections, uroliths (stones), hepatic (liver) disease, and renal (kidney) disease;
- Measuring blood pressure to detect hypertension (high blood pressure) and hypotension (low blood pressure);
- Performing a Schirmer Tear Test to measure the rate of tear production and assess lacrimal gland function which can prevent loss of vision, detect dry eye (KCS), and aid in detecting ocular surface diseases, such as ulcers;
- Performing a Tonopen Measurement for detection of glaucoma (high ocular pressure), which can lead to blindness and can cause severe discomfort.
Further evaluation of your pet's specific medical conditions can be performed through digital x-rays and ultrasound.
Contact us today to schedule your next senior pet exam.