Like humans, senior pets also need special medical care to extend their life and good health. To help them maintain a good quality of life as they age, senior pets need routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis throughout their golden years.
Even if your senior pet seems healthy, it's important to remember that diligent care can help them remain so for as long as possible by taking them to regularly scheduled wellness exams.
Our veterinarians are here to help geriatric pets in White House live longer, healthier lives by identifying and treating emerging health issues early, as well as providing proactive treatment while we can still effectively and easily manage them.
Because of improvements in nutrition and veterinary care, family cats and dogs are living far longer today than they have in the past.
With an increase in longevity in our pets, however, comes an increase in potential age-related conditions.
Your vet will be on the lookout for signs of the following typical conditions:
As your dog ages, 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, less spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Addressing these issues early is essential for keeping your dog comfortable throughout their older years. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs can range from simple solutions such as reducing levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to more complex treatments such as surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While cats can also experience a decrease in range of motion, the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats include weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. The limping that is typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners.
Cancer is, unfortunately, a major cause of losing our beloved family pets, and this is why it's so important to take 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 that can respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, which happens when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, 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.
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.
In senior cats, liver disease is common and may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.
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, immediate 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 increased and excessive thirst, weight loss despite an increased appetite, milky-looking eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
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 to keep your pet as comfortable as possible.
Our White House 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 is experiencing incontinence issues, it's important to take them to the vet for a thorough examination.
Our vets will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask about their home life in detail and perform any tests that may be required to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
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.
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.
Early detection of disease will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they develop into long-term problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.
White House Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of White House companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.