Geriatric Care for Pets
Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
In order to help your pet maintain their quality of life as they continue to age, your senior wit will need routine preventative veterinary care and proactive diagnosis and treatments all throughout their later years.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinarians are here to help your senior pets in the Memphis area to achieve optimal health by identifying and treating their medical issues as early as possible and using preventative treatment in order to effective manage them as they arise.
Typical Health Problems
Because of vast improvements in veterinary care and the dietary options available to our companion cats and dogs, out pets are living far longer now than they ever have in the past.
While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians now face more age-related conditions than they did in the past as well.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog reaches their golden years, there are a number of joint or bone disorders that can result in pain and discomfort. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pets that our veterinarians see include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Addressing these health problems early is critical to keeping your pup comfortable as they continue to grow and age. Treatment for bone and joint disorders in senior pups can range from reducing their amount of exercise and using anti-inflammatory medications to surgical interventions designed to remove diseased tissues, stabilize their joints and reduce their levels of pain.
While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats can be much more subtle than those found in dogs. While cats may be able to experience a loss in range of motion, much more often the symptoms of bone and joint conditions include depression, a loss of appetite, a loss in weight as well as a shift in attitude and consistent urination and defecation outside of their litter box. The lameness that is often seen in dogs is rarely reported by cat owners.
It is believed that approximately 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. That's why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.
Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups even when they seem healthy allows your veterinarian to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs can commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, which can occur when their heart isn't effectively pumping blood and they build a backup of fluid in the lungs, heart and chest cavity.
While heart disease is seen less in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition causes the walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are age-related they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is quite commonly found in senior cats and can be the result of high blood pressure of hyperthyroidism. The symptoms of liver diseases in our feline friends can include jaundice, a loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, increased thirst and excessive drooling.
Liver disease in dogs can cause a number of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is essential.
Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years of age.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
As pets age, their kidneys tend to lose their function. In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.
While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Memphis vets often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of a bigger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our veterinarians will thoroughly examine your senior pet, inquire about their home life in detail, and perform any tests required to get further insight into the comfort and condition of your aging companion.
Based on the findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that can potentially include medications, activities and dietary changes that may help improve your senior pet's health, well-being and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is essential to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. It also gives our veterinarians the opportunity to detect diseases early.
The early detection of diseases can help to preserve your pet's health and well-being as well as help them to catch emerging health issues before they have a chance to develop into more serious and long-term issues.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.
New Patients Welcome
PetVax Complete Care Centers is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Memphis companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.