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It is a fact of life that we all get older, and that includes our beloved pets. Just as human beings require more and/or different medical care as they age, so do senior pets have specific needs that may have been less critical in their younger days. Here at Acres Mill Animal Hospital, our skilled, compassionate veterinary team seeks to bring a high standard of care to animals of all ages. That's why we offer specialized senior pet care services to older animals just like yours.
What counts as "senior" in the animal world? Cats start to require senior care by the time they are 7 years of age. For dogs the situation can vary by breed and size, with giant breeds aging more rapidly than toy breeds, but 7 is generally a good age for most dogs to have their changing health needs evaluated as well. Since many of the changes that occur with age aren't necessarily visible or obvious, we generally recommend semi-annual wellness examinations for senior pets so we can run more frequent lab tests to check for internal disorders and diseases. The more frequent schedule also helps us monitor external changes and health problems.
Dogs and cats develop many of the same kinds of age-related issues that humans can. These may include:
Osteoarthritis and degenerative joint problems - If your pet moves stiffly and no longer tries to jump even small distances, he may be suffering from age-related joint trouble such as osteoarthritis. We can examine the joints for degeneration and recommend options ranging from joint-healthy dietary changes and anti-inflammatory medications to orthopedic surgery.
Internal issues - Many pets develop conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure and thyroid problems later in life. An animal's cancer risk also rises with age, while circulatory problems such as hypertension and arteriosclerosis also become more common. Regular lab testing allows us to identify these problems early, allowing for closer monitoring and more effective treatment.
Obesity - As your pet slows down, he may burn fewer calories while eating the same amount of food, gaining weight as a result. We can check your pet's weight and suggest dietary changes and a gentle exercise routine to help him avoid the health complications that accompany obesity.
Eye, ear and dental ailments - Cataracts, hearing loss and gum disease are all common developments in older animals. We can monitor these conditions and advise you on lifestyle changes to help your pet cope with them. More frequent dental care is a must to help prevent unnecessary tooth loss. Senior cats can also develop a painful condition called tooth resorption which may call for more frequent cleanings or extraction of damaged teeth.
Let Acres Mill Animal Hospital help you give your friend a healthy, comfortable old age. Call our clinic today at 770-479-1905 to schedule a senior pet wellness evaluation!
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