Comprehensive Care for Senior Pets
To help your senior cat or dog maintain a high quality of life as they get older, geriatric pets require routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis during their senior years.
Proactive care can help lengthen your furry friend's life and optimal healh as they age, so it's essential for them to attend routine wellness exams, even if they appear to be healthy.
Our veterinarians are available to help McAllen's geriatric pets achieve good health by diagnosing and treating arising health issues early and providing the treatments needed while we are still able to effectively and easily manage their condition.
Typical Health Problems
As a result of the improved dietary options and better veterinary care, companion animals are living longer now than they ever have before.
While this is great news, pet parents and veterinarians are now facing more age-related conditions than they did in the past as well.
Usually, senior pets are at a higher risk of developing the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog reaches their senior years, there are a handful of joint or bone disorders that could cause them pain and discomfort. A few of the more common joint and bone disorders in geriatric dogs include hip dysplasia, arthritis, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
It's essential to have these issues addressed early to keep your dog comfortable as they continue to get older. Treatments for joint and bone conditions in senior dogs can range from simply reducing levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is often a condition associated with older dogs, this painful issue could also affect your senior cat's joints.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in range of motion the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats are depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, poor grooming habits, change in general attitude, urination/ defecation outside the litter box, and inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness often seen in dogs isn't usually reported by cat owners.
It's believed that approximately 50% of all pets in the US pass away as a result of cancers. This makes it important for your senior cat or dog to visit the vet for regular wellness exams as they get older.
Taking your geriatric cat or dog in for routine checkups even when they look healthy lets your veterinarian assess them for early signs of cancer and as well as other diseases that respond better to treatment when found in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
Similar to people, heart disease can be problematic for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs often suffer from congestive heart failure, which develops when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, resulting in a backup of fluid in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease isn't seen as often in cats as in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is fairly common. This condition makes the walls of a cat’s heart thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to properly function.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can cause varying degrees of deafness and blindness in geriatric pets, however, this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are age-related they can develop slowly, giving geriatric pets time to adjust their behavior, making it hard for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and can 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 lead to a range of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your senior cat or dog is showing any signs or symptoms of liver disease, it's important to get them immediate veterinary care.
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 cats and dogs get older, their kidneys can start losing their function. Sometimes, kidney disease can be the result of the medications used to treat other conditions that are common in geriatric pets.
While chronic kidney disease can't be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our McAllen 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 critical for you to know that incontinence can be a sign of a bigger health problem such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet is having incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric cat or dog to the vet for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will give your senior pet an in-depth physical examination, inquire about their home life in detail, and conduct any tests that may be needed to obtain additional insights into their overall health and condition.
Depending on our findings, we will recommend a treatment plan that could potentially consist of medications, activities and dietary changes that could help improve your senior pet's health, comfort, and well-being.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is an important part of helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. It also provides our veterinarians with the opportunity to diagnose any diseases early.
Early detection of disease will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch arising health problems before they turn into long-term issues.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.