Senior Pet Care At Silver Heights Veterinary Hospital
Pets are living longer these days than ever before, both because they're more pampered in general than in past decades, and because of advances in veterinary medicine. At Silver Heights Veterinary Hospital we care for a wide variety of aging senior pets, and we advise all of their owners that preventative medicine is the best way to keep their furry family member healthy and active for the longest time possible. It's only natural that health problems will appear more often as pets get older, but early diagnosis and treatment is the key to minimizing these problems for just about any cat or dog.
The Life Stages of Senior Pets
We talk about animals being senior pets by the time they reach the age of seven, but that's just a general estimate. It all depends on your pet's breed. Smaller animals tend to live longer than larger ones, and cats usually live longer than dogs. For most cats, they can be considered senior by the time they're 11 years old. As for dogs, a miniature one might not be considered senior until they reach eight or nine, while a five year old Newfoundland might very likely begin to grow gray hairs on its muzzle.
No matter what age your pet is when it's considered a senior, that's the time when they begin a general physical decline. Their physical condition slows down, their immune system begins to break down, they're more susceptible to disease, and they're at a much greater risk of developing health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Aging isn't a disease, but it's the process by which the body allows more disease to develop and thrive because the body can't fight it off as easily as before.
Look for Signs of Illness in Your Pet
The best way to tell if your pet is showing signs of aging is to bring it in for regular annual pet wellness exams. In between checkups, it's important that you watch your pet for signs that its health may be fading in any number of ways. Some of the signs to look for are:
- Any decrease in appetite
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Drinking more water
- The inability to climb stairs or get onto furniture
- Collapsing or sudden weakness
- Coughing that won't go away
- Drooling or extremely bad breath
- Needed to urinate more frequently
Pet Wellness Checkups for Senior Pets
When your pet ages, it's even more important to watch for developing diseases and health problems. The earlier we spot a budding problem, the better chance we have for treatment and a cure. We generally recommend having our senior pets come see us at least once a year if they have no obvious health concerns. Our veterinarian may advise more frequent visits for pets with medical problems. Call our office today to schedule your pet's next exam at 204-504-5600.