Better understanding of pets and their changing requirements, plus advances in veterinary medicine mean that our animals are living longer than ever before. This is awesome for us as owners since it means that we can enjoy life with our precious pet for much longer. However, in order for them to benefit from a long, happy and fulfilling life, we need to adapt the care that we provide to suit their needs.
One of the most important things to bear in mind is that our pet’s bodies age much faster than our own. This means that they become classed as senior or geriatric pets sooner than we might otherwise expect. For example, a mid-sized dog breed is classed as being senior by around the age of 8 and this is because every human year is the equivalent of around 7 years in canine-time. By the time he reaches 8 human years old, his body has aged approximately 56 years.
As veterinarians, we are committed to helping your pet stay healthy and active for as long as possible. One of the ways in which we do this is by offering services tailored to geriatric pet care at our animal hospital in Slingerlands, NY.
Our geriatric pet services include a number of different elements so that we can offer comprehensive care to your aging animal.
You probably bring your pet in for annual wellness visits already and these are important for enabling us to spot potential developing health problems quickly before they have a chance to have a significant impact on the health of your animal. We may recommend that the frequency of these visits is increased depending on the age of your pet and his health requirements. This is so that he can be monitored more closely and any changes to his wellbeing, which may become more rapid with age, can be spotted and treated promptly, and this can help improve the overall outcome for your pet.
Preventative care is essential regardless of your pet’s age. However, it becomes especially important when you have an older animal since his body is likely to already be starting to deteriorate and this means that certain functions, such as his immune system, are no longer working as well as they should. This puts your pet at increased risk of catching diseases and developing health problems.
Preventative care for geriatric pets is virtually the same for any other age animal and includes physical examinations, blood tests, urinalysis, fecal testing and in the case of dogs, heartworm testing. Vaccinations and parasite preventatives are also given. Older pets are also given thyroid testing since thyroid function reduces with age.
If you haven’t cared for a geriatric pet before, it can be a big change from what you are used to. It is important that you adapt various aspects of his care and know what to expect to ensure that you keep him healthy and happy. To support you with this, we offer comprehensive advice on caring for an older pet include:
Guidance on nutritional changes and issues
Support with weight management
Advice on behavioral changes that you should expect
Information about the best way to support your pet as he ages, including adaptations that you can make to your home to make life easier for your pet
If your pet is unfortunate to be diagnosed with a medical problem, we can facilitate prompt treatment that will hopefully limit the effect that the issue has on your pet. Some of the most common health problems associated with geriatric pets include:
Prostate disease (in intact males)
Behavioral and cognitive function decline (similar to Alzheimer’s Disease)
Our experienced team will discuss the diagnosis with you in detail and explain what treatment we recommend and why. You will, of course, be kept properly informed every step of the treatment plan.
If you would like more information about our geriatric pet care services, or if you would like to arrange an appointment for your senior pet to be assessed by our experienced team, please get in touch with The Animal Hospital in Slingerlands, NY today by calling (518) 456-0852.