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Most dogs are recognized as a senior at 7 years (for giant breeds, it is a bit younger) and cats at 10 years. You don't have to settle for your pet walking slower or not being able to see well! There are preventative tests that can be performed to catch problems at an earlier age and medications that can be used to help pets that are diagnosed with senior pet related diseases.
When a pet becomes a senior, it is imperative to pay close attention to their health. As dogs and cats age; their risk for diabetes, heart disease, dental disease, and liver and kidney dysfunction increase, among other possible ailments. At this time, it is important to perform wellness screenings on your pet yearly.
For our senior pets, we recommend the following tests at your pet's semi-annual wellness exam:
These tests will provide us with an overview of your pet's health. If everything comes back normal, great! Your pet is healthy! Just as important, these normal tests give us a baseline to compare your pet's results as they age. What may be normal to one pet is not normal for the next, so it is important to have this baseline to compare to. If you have been performing yearly blood work, as we recommend for pets of all ages, we will have a great idea of your pet's normal levels on a few of the tests.
If one or more of your pet's tests come back abnormal the veterinarian will discuss with you a course of action that needs to be taken. Diet changes, chronic medications or lifestyle changes (for your pet) may be recommended based on the results. These actions may help increase your pet's quality of life and possibly lengthen your pet's life!
Another thing to think about at this point in your pet's life is their diet. Their dietary needs are changing as they get older. They tend to be less active, so a diet lower in calories may be needed. Specific ailments, such as arthritis, kidney disease, liver disease, etc, may require a specific type of food. In general, if it has been determined by the veterinarian that your pet does not have any specific ailments, a senior diet may be in order. We offer two great senior foods, Joint Formula by the Iams Company and Prescription Diet J/D by Hills. Both of these formulas have joint support and nutrients that a senior pet needs to stay healthy.