Seven years old is considered "senior" for most pets. This
varies by breed, but if you consider that every year of "people" time is about 7 to a dog or a cat, then a 7 year
old animal would be 49 years old if they were human.
Most of us treat our pets as if they were human, but in reality their bodies age
much faster than ours. It is very important to watch for early warning signs
that may indicate "age related" problems.
What to Watch For
Most age related problems come on gradually. All of these symptoms can indicate that your pet has a problem.
Decreased or increased appetite.
Extreme weight loss or weight gain.
Decreased or increased water intake.
Decreased or increased urination.
Decreased or increased bowel movements.
Soft, runny bowel movements or hard bowel movements (constipation).
Elimination accidents in the house.
Harsh, raspy breathing.
What does this mean?
As your pet's body ages, the organs can start to wear out. Kidney or liver
problems are common in older pets and if caught early, most can be maintained
with medication or diet that will help your pet live many more happy years.
Heart problems can also occur and can be helped with medication and diet,
keeping the animal's quality of life high and hopefully adding to your time
with a beloved.
What if my pet does have a problem?
Many of the illnesses brought on by old age are the same as we see in people. There
are special diets and medications that can help the organs function better. The
most important thing is to catch the problem as EARLY as possible.
How do we find out if my pet has an age related illness if we aren't seeing any symptoms?
There are several important steps to take to keep your older pet in tip-top condition.
1. Have a complete physical exam done at least once a year on all pets. With pets over 7 years of age, we recommend an exam every 6 months. Remember, 1 year is like 7 to an animal.
Heart murmurs, decreases in the size of the kidneys, and other physical findings can catch early signs of age related problems.
2. Lab tests including bloodwork (liver and kidney functions and blood cell counts) and urinalysis once a year can be compared from one test to the next to see what changes may be taking place in your pet's health. Animals with existing problems may need testing more often.
3. X-rays and ultrasounds can be done to see the size and shape of various
organs and to look for tumors.
PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SET AN APPOINTMENT FOR A SENIOR