As pet owners, we all reach a point in time where our much-loved companions start to show signs of aging. It is thought that cats and dogs age at the rate of 6 to 7 years for every one year of life in human terms. If your pet is advancing in years a lot can happen to them in a short time span. Pets receive a health check routinely during their annual physical exam and vaccination updates and while this works well for our younger pets, for older pets it may not be frequent enough. If your pet is over the age of 8 chances are they are beginning to show signs of the aging process, this age is a good point to start a geriatric health program.
With a good geriatric program, we are able to maintain life for your pet in a quality manner. It may be necessary to see older patients more frequently for an evaluation. These exams can reveal early eye disease such as cataracts and glaucoma, dental disease, various lumps and bumps that may need closer examination. Your pet may need a dietary or lifestyle change that is more suited to his/her needs at this point in time. A full blood screen is also a valuable tool that monitors for signs of kidney or liver disease; it also screens other organ systems for disorders and diseases. In some patients a cardiac profile may be necessary to evaluate heart function.
In addition to screening the physical health of your older pet we will also evaluate their mental health. The onset of cognitive dysfunction is common among aging pets and in many cases can be helped with medication. The loss of cognitive ability can cause a great deal of stress to your companion. We ask you monitor your pet for behavioural changes and update us at each visit (sooner if you have concerns or questions).
Pets are loved members of our families, providing them with quality geriatric care can help ensure that they give us the gift of love and laughter for many years to come.
Written by Fairmont Animal Hospital