Let’s talk about senior pet care
We’re going to discuss why senior pets should be examined, what the veterinarian may be looking for, and what tests may be performed.
Your dog may be considered a senior at about 7 years on average if you’re going to take all the breeds and sizes together. But small breed dogs do tend to age less quickly than giant breed dogs for example. So if you’re looking at a Great Dane, I generally say about 6 years of age is a senior. Whereas a tiny dog maybe 8.
So, at an average 7 years of age seeing your exams are really important and I recommend them at least every 6 months because they age so much faster than we do.
Your vet can pick up subtle changes that an owner may not see. He/she listens to the heart and lungs and can hear murmurs arrhythmia as they palpate the abdomen. They can find masses so yeah, an owner may find an ear infection or know that their dog has bad breath but a vet may be able to pick up on diseases before the owners aware of them and help prolong the patient’s life.
Potentially specific questions that your veterinarian may ask you that can key us into various underlying disease processes. Is there an increase in water consumption? An increase in urination? Change in defecation behavior or eating?
- Like if your dog’s eating a lot more…
- Activity level…
- Changes in breathing…
- Exercise intolerance…
Stuff like that can clue your veterinarian into possible underlying disease process going on with your animal.
Your veterinarian can also provide you with advice on special diets for your senior pet especially certain breeds that do have particular needs as they get older.
Such as exercise that could be good for your pet especially if they have certain diseases like joint disease. Your vet can discuss what exercise is appropriate or if they have heart disease they may recommend blood work or a senior wellness profile.
These are sort of pre-screening things pet care professionals look for. Maybe renal insufficiency, kidney disease, liver disease or any sort of changes.
Your vet may also want to perform a urinalysis as part of that senior wellness profile and a fecal. Just a basic screening to try to find diseases early before the owner is noticing a change in their animal.
Many veterinarians recommend that a senior pet be examined at least twice a year. There are very important changes that take place in a senior pet that may not be clinical; in other words, your pet may not be showing any signs early on.
However, your veterinarian is trained to pick up these early changes on a physical exam.
I recommend that your pet have routine blood and urine tests performed at each of these visits picking up your problem before your senior furkid becomes sick may make all the difference in their quality of life
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