Pets today are living longer and healthier lives

Pets today are living longer and healthier lives thanks to a greater emphasis on good nutrition and routine healthcare.  This starts early in a pet’s life but becomes even more important as pets age (keep in mind that a dog or cat going 1 year between examinations is the equivalent of a human going 4-8 years between exams).

 

Pets today are living longer and healthier lives thanks to a greater emphasis on good nutrition and routine healthcare.  This starts early in a pet’s life but becomes even more important as pets age (keep in mind that a dog or cat going 1 year between examinations is the equivalent of a human going 4-8 years between exams).

 

Pets may begin to show age-related changes as early as 7-10 years of age.  A loss of muscle mass, a general unkempt appearance (normally due to decreased grooming), changes in behavior, lower energy levels, sudden changes in weight (weight loss or weight gain) and stiffness when getting up may become noticeable.  Some pets may show no outward age-related signs at all, possibly lulling owners into believing their pets have no aging concerns.  A 2002 study showed that up to 90% of geriatric cats had radiographic signs of osteoarthritis but very few owners had observed changes at home.

 

As a pet owner, the most important things you can do to keep your senior pet healthy are to be observant of their behaviors and condition at home and to have them examined every 6 months by a veterinarian.  During the appointment the veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and can discuss nutrition, vaccinations and other aspects of wellness care with you.  In addition to biannual examinations, it is recommended to have bloodwork performed on your senior pet once a year.  The bloodwork will allow us to screen your pet for various diseases more commonly found in aging pets and also will establish a good reference range of your pet’s normal lab values when they are healthy.