Senior Pet Care to Benefit Older Dogs and Cats
We understand that your senior pet holds a special place in your heart. As pets age, they often require a special degree of care to ensure that they live many more happy, healthy years. At Altos Veterinary Clinic, we know that senior status arrives at a different time for each pet, so we take the time to individually assess the needs of your senior companion. To ensure the best care possible, we always follow the American Animal Hospital Association’s Senior Care Guidelines for dogs and cats.
We believe that the best way to establish senior pet health begins by starting your pet’s senior wellness testing during the middle-age years. These tests establish a baseline by which we can measure any health changes and also screen out any silent illnesses. Once your pet reaches his or her senior years, we urge you to schedule wellness examinations every 6 months.
Knowing when your pet enters his or her middle-age years is important when deciding an appropriate time to begin senior wellness testing. While for most dogs and cats middle age arrives at about 7–8 years, some pets, such as large dog breeds, may enter this stage earlier.
A Long & Happy Life for Your Pet Friend
We recommend senior wellness examinations twice a year and additional visits as needed if your pet is experiencing any health problems. During a regular wellness visit, in addition to the gentle hands-on exam, we may perform screening tests for:
- Kidney, heart, and liver function
- Heart disease
- Dental problems and disease
- Thyroid problems
- Blood pressure
Because we have established a “normal” baseline for your pet in his or her middle years, diagnostic tests are valuable for us to detect the onset of many illnesses. Other tools are also used to ensure an accurate diagnosis and establish a treatment plan. This early detection of disease gives us a better opportunity to successfully treat it.
In addition to looking for illness, we will check for and discuss behavior issues with you. Some older pets can occasionally become disoriented and have trouble remembering where they are. In addition to confusion, arthritis and joint degeneration can also be responsible for your pet’s changing behavior. Whether it requires adjusting your pet’s diet or adding supplements and medications, we can help you determine the best way to improve your pet’s quality of life.
Our Approach to Ensuring Your Pet’s Health
Every pet is an individual. Their differences are what make them so special to us. We look at the whole animal, including behavior and lifestyle, when making recommendations for:
- Nutritional supplements
- Physical therapy
- Pain relief medication
- Anti-inflammatory medication
Many new drugs and dietary supplements are available that help to lessen the effects of arthritis and relieve pain. Exercise is a great way to keep your pet in good condition and assists with improved mobility. At every visit, you will get the information you need about ways to help keep your older pet happy and healthy for as long as possible.