Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
In order to help your pet to maintain a good quality of life as they age and grow, our senior pets require frequent routine preventive care and early diagnoses throughout their golden years.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinary teams are here to help geriatric pets in the Carrollton area to achieve and maintain their optimal healthy by identifying and treating health issues as they emerge, providing proactive treatments while health issues are still manageable.
Typical Health Problems
With improvements in dietary offerings and veterinary technologies, our companion dogs and cats are living far longer now than they ever have in the past.
While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians now face more age-related conditions than they did in the past as well.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog reaches their golden years, 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, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Addressing your dog's joint issues early is critical to keeping them comfortable as they age. Treatments for bone and joint issues in our senior dogs can range from reducing levels of exercise to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications. Treatments can also include surgeries to remove diseased tissues, stabilize joints and 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 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. Lameness typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners.
It is believed that approximately 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. That's why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.
Bringing your aging pet in to see us for a routine exam even when they seem perfectly healthy gives us a chance to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases that may respond best when identified in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs will commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when their heart isn't able to efficiently pump blood. This causes a backup of fluid in the abdomen, heart and lungs.
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.
- Blindness and hearing loss
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.
- Liver disease
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, 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 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 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 isn't curable, it is manageable with a combination of treatments and dietary choices.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Carrollton vets often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets may have accidents more often as the muscles controlling their bladder weaken, but these may also be indicators of more serious issues like dementia or urinary tract infections.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will give your pet a detailed exam, asking about your dog or cat's home life in detail and performing any tests that may be required to give us better insight into your companion's 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.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is critical in giving your senior pet a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. It also gives our vets the chance to detect diseases early, when they are at their easiest to treat.
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 routine physical exams, your pet will have the best chance possible at quality health and comfort as they continue to age.