Geriatric Care for Pets
Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
Senior pets require routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis throughout their golden years to help them maintain a good quality of life as they age.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so they must attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinarians are here to help geriatric pets in Seattle achieve optimal health by identifying and treating emerging health issues early and providing proactive treatment while they can still be effectively and easily managed.
Typical Health Problems
Companion cats and dogs are living far longer lives than in the past, thanks to improved dietary options and better veterinary care.
While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians are now dealing with more age-related conditions than in the past.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog ages, there are a variety of joint and bone disorders that can cause pain and discomfort. Arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, decreased spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders are some of the most common joint and bone disorders seen in geriatric pets by our veterinarians.
Addressing these issues early on is critical to keeping your dog comfortable as they age. Treatment for joint and bone problems in senior dogs can range from simply reducing exercise levels to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints, or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is commonly associated with older dogs, it can also affect the joints of your senior cat.
Cats' osteoarthritis symptoms are more subtle than those of dogs. While cats' range of motion may be reduced, the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats are 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. Cat owners are less likely to report lameness than dog owners.
Cancer is thought to kill approximately half of all pets in the United States. As a result, it is critical for your senior pet to have routine wellness exams as they age.
Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups, even if they appear healthy, allows your veterinarian to look for early signs of cancer and other diseases that respond better to treatment if caught early.
- Heart Disease
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs frequently suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart does not efficiently pump blood, causing fluid to build up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease affects cats less than dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is fairly common. The walls of a cat's heart thicken as a result of this condition, reducing the heart's ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration of the eyes and ears in older pets can result in varying degrees of deafness and blindness, though this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are caused by aging, they may appear gradually, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to detect.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and can be caused by high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and increased thirst are all symptoms of liver disease in cats.
Seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss are all possible symptoms of liver disease in dogs.
If your senior dog or cat exhibits any of the symptoms of liver disease, immediate veterinary attention is required.
Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, the majority of dogs are diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 10 years old, and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over the age of 6.
Excessive thirst, increased appetite with weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections are all symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
The kidneys of pets tend to fail as they age. In some cases, medications used to treat other common conditions in geriatric pets can cause kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, but it can be managed through a combination of diet and medication.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Seattle veterinarians frequently see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract disorders and incontinence issues. Elderly pets are more prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but incontinence can also be a sign of a larger health problem, such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet has incontinence problems, you should take him or her to the vet for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our veterinarians will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask detailed questions about their home life, and perform any tests that may be necessary to gain additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
Based on the results, we will recommend a treatment plan that may include medications, activities, and dietary changes to help improve your senior pet's health, well-being, and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is critical for your senior pet's health, happiness, and fulfillment. It also allows our veterinarians to detect diseases earlier.
Early disease detection will help preserve your pet's physical health and detect emerging health issues before they become long-term issues.
Regular physical examinations will give your pet the best chance for long-term health.