Geriatric Care for Pets
Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
We help geriatric cats and dogs maintain a good quality of life as they continue to age by providing them with routine preventive veterinary care and by diagnosing any problems early.
Being proactive about your senior pet's care can help extend their life and good health as they get older, so it's important that they come in for regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they appear healthy.
Our veterinarians are available to help geriatric dogs and cats in Edgewater achieve optimal health by finding and treating any health problems early, and provide treatment while we can still easily and effectively manage them.
Typical Health Problems
Because of the improved dietary options and better veterinary care available, companion pets are living longer than ever before.
This is certainly news to be celebrated, however pet owners and veterinarians are now facing more age-related conditions than they used to.
Senior pets are generally prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog passes middle age, there are numerous joint and bone disorders that can cause them pain and discomfort. A few of the most common joint and bone disorders our veterinarians see in geriatric dogs include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
It's essential to address these conditions early to keep your dog comfortable in their golden years. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs range from simply reducing levels of exercise, to using analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is usually an issue we associate with older dogs, this painful condition can also affect the joints of your senior cat.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis are more subtle in cats than they are 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 often seen in dogs usually isn't reported by cat owners.
It's believed that about 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. This is why it's important for your senior pet to see the vet for routine exams as they get older.
Bringing your geriatric cat or dog in for routine checkups even when they appear healthy lets your vet examine them for early signs of cancer and other conditions that respond better to treatment when caught early.
- Heart Disease
Like humans, heart disease can be a threat for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs often experience congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in their heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease is not seen as often in cats, 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 properly.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in senior pets, however it is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these problems are age-related they can come on slowly, letting senior pets adjust their behavior, this makes it hard for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and might 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 could cause a range of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your senior dog or cat is showing any symptoms of liver disease, it's essential to get them veterinary care.
Even though both 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.
The symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats are 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 animals get older, their kidneys often start to lose their function. Sometimes, kidney disease could be caused by medications that are used to treat other common conditions seen in senior pets.
Event though chronic kidney disease can't be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our vets in Edgewater often see elderly cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Geriatric pets could be prone to accidents as their muscles controlling the bladder weaken, however, it's important to remember that incontinence can be a sign of a larger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your geriatric pet is experiencing incontinence issues, it's important to take them to the vet for a full examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will give your geriatric pet a complete physical exam, ask for details about their life at home and conduct any tests that might be needed to get additional insight into your cat or dog's general physical health and condition.
Depending on what we find, your vet will recommend a treatment plan that could potentially consist of medications, activities and dietary changes that might help improve your senior companion's health, well-being and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is an important player in helping your geriatric pet live a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life. It also provides our veterinarians with the opportunity to find diseases early.
Detecting diseases in their early stages will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they turn into long-term problems.
Routine physical examinations, give your pet their best chance at quality long-term health.