Senior Pet Care
The professionals at Village Veterinary Medical Center practice proactive preventive medicine. This becomes especially important as your dog or cat enters the senior stage of life.
Our Senior Pet Care Program emphasizes wellness and preventive medicine to maintain a strong immune system and identify developing or underlying diseases before they progress. Early detection of chronic or age-related disease yields more treatment options than end-stage diagnosis. We hope to maintain a good quality of life for you and your senior pet through this preventive program.
Wellness Care for Your Senior Pet
Did you know that when your pet reaches seven years of age, he or she is considered a senior? Our pet’s life spans are much shorter than our own, making early detection of health problems critical to their care and longevity.
While a once-annual veterinary visit may be adequate for younger pets, Village Veterinary Medical Center and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) recommend that all pets seven years and older gain significant health benefits from wellness exams at least twice a year.
The Senior Wellness Visit and Exam
Wellness screening in our older companions often begins with a history from the pet owner. You may notice subtle changes in your pet’s activity, appetite, thirst, behavioral problems, signs of vision or hearing loss, dental problems, stiffness/arthritis, stool changes, or obesity. At Village Vet, your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination. This exam is the most important step in detecting chronic conditions such as dental disease, heart disease, and osteoarthritis.
Senior checkups will also give your veterinarian an opportunity to minimize potential health risks through early detection and treatment.
During this visit, we may perform some or all of the following services based on your pet’s needs:
- Comprehensive physical examination
- Dental examination
- Ophthalmic examination
- Osteoarthritis evaluation
- Senior lab panel (CBC, chemistry, electrolytes, thyroid testing) and urinalysis
- Heartworm testingIntestinal parasite testing
- Chest radiographs and/or ECG
- Abdominal radiographs and ultrasound
- Vaccination update
- Discussion of nutrition, behavior, and any pet owner questions
For more about senior pet care, read this overview of the AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.
Once cats are seven years of age or older, we recommend performing physical exams every six months. As cats age, health disorders become more common. Disorders such as kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, thyroid conditions, and cancers are more common in senior cats than in young adult cats. Performing a bi-annual exam allows us to find any problems or changes earlier than doing exams only yearly.
A blood panel is also recommended yearly for senior cats. The senior blood panel is more extensive than the adult cat wellness blood panel to reflect the increased incidence of some diseases in older cats (such as an overactive thyroid gland). Of course, cats with certain medical conditions may require more frequent exams or more frequent blood panels.