How do I know when my pet is a “senior” and what can I do to maintain my older pet’s health?
Many of us are familiar with the commonly held belief that pet age 7 year for every one of ours. While our pets do age faster than us, this equation is not strictly true. While cats over 9 years old are considered seniors, large breed dogs reach their senior years even earlier. As they age, we need to be extra vigilant about our pets’ nutrition, teeth, joints, kidney and liver function, heart health and mental faculties.
As with humans, the best medicine is preventative. If we catch these changes early, we can slow or even halt the progression of disease. Biannual exams and bloodwork are recommended for all seniors to help us veterinarians catch certain diseases before they progress too far. Did you know that over 75% of the liver or kidneys must be failing before outward symptoms occur? A new heart murmur might be the first sign of developing heart failure? Simple bloodwork, auscultation and other diagnostics allow us to catch subtle changes early and treat with medications or diet changes.
In many cases, the addition of safe, simple supplements and medications can protect and prolong the health of many organ systems in the body. Ask your veterinarian for more information about fish oil, glucosamine & chondroitin, and probiotics specific for our animal friends.
If you have any questions about caring for your senior pet contact us.
Sally Haddock, DVM