Senior Pet Care
Pet Health and Your Senior Dog or Cat
Aging comes much more rapidly in our furry friends as well as all the associated problems that come with older age.
Some changes of age are irreversible but many can be slowed or even reversed if caught early. Pets do not complain about their health issues and may hide their symptoms until a disease has progressed too far. Any changes in behavior can be a sign of disease or failing pet health. Cats are particularly good at hiding their illness to their detriment. With cats you need to watch for any breaks in their regular patterns of sleep and activity, appetite and thirst changes, or levels of affection.
For a detailed description of aging in dogs, the AAHA provides these guidelines for senior pet care.
It is common for an owner to mistake symptoms of disease with the natural aging process. At Greenfield Animal Hospital we recommend twice yearly examinations for older pets along with testing to catch and deal with problems before they become critical and life damaging. These visits start with a thorough physical exam to access overall health. Your contribution is invaluable as you inform us of changes in behavior, habits, or appearance that may indicate developing problems.
Laboratory testing is critical in detecting problems that may not show up on physical exam alone. Which tests to run are determined by what symptoms your pet shows along with what we find on physical examination. Minimally a CBC, Chemistries, thyroid test, parasite evaluation, and urinalysis are important.
Our goal is to work with you in making the aging process as graceful and comfortable as possible while maintaining your pet’s dignity. Early detection of disease allows us to treat medical problems before they advance into debilitating, painful, or life threatening conditions. We provide counseling on sensory changes, physical changes, nutrition, exercise, and pain management. We also will help you deal with end of life decisions when the time comes.
To get a feeling of what age your pet is in terms of human years, and for some useful information on aging pets, visit www.avma.org.