Senior Pet Wellness
Just like the humans who love them, dogs and cats both become more vulnerable to disease as they age. Aliments like Kidney disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism (in dogs), and hyperthyroidism (in cats), among others all become more common as your pet approaches middle age and beyond. With early detection and diagnosis of these diseases, we can start treatment early to give your pet the best chance. Unfortunately, these afflictions share another trait in common: they are seldom obvious.
While humans tend to seek out medical care for illness, cats and dogs will tend to hide illness. In wild animals, this is an advantage. Because predators tend to pray on sick, weak, or injured animals, it’s much safer in the wild to appear healthy. However, your pet is not a wild animal, and so all they accomplish by hiding their disease is an increase in difficulty for those trying to care for their health. A good Veterinarian isn’t afraid to do some detective work, but it’s especially important, as your pet ages, that you take him or her to one on a regular basis. Regular visits allow a veterinarian to look specifically for illnesses which your pet may be trying to hide, so early detection and treatment can be achieved, and your pet can enjoy a long, healthy life.
One component of a routine veterinary examination which becomes more vital with age are blood tests. Blood tests give your veterinarian a look at your pet’s health from the inside, where they cannot hide their illness. The tests check for anemia, infection, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, and thyroid disease. Should a problem show up, the fact that we have detected your pet’s problem at an early stage will give him or her a much better outcome. The earlier, the better. If all the come back normal, you can rest assured with the knowledge that your companion is healthy. Additionally, a normal result will be used as the frame of reference for comparison against future tests, increasing the accuracy of the tests. We want all our senior patients to benefit from these tests. Therefore, World of Animals Veterinary Hospitals offers special packages during Senior Wellness Month in November each year.
While cats and dogs are prone to hiding their illnesses, and regular checkups are a necessity, sometimes your pet cannot keep his or her symptoms a secret. Be on the look on for these warning signs, they may indicate your pet is having a problem:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Repeated vomiting
- Change in appetite – eating more or less than usual
- Changes in behavior such as “spacing out” or excessive whining
- Loss of bladder control or breaking house training
- Bad breath, drooling or changes in appetite
- Excessive panting or exercise intolerance
- Lumps or changes in areas of skin color
- Unusual bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation
- Gaining or losing weight
Report any of these problems to your veterinarian immediately to determine the cause of these problems.
Many age-related problems are inevitable, but these can be managed, while others still are avoidable. Age itself is not a disease, and preventative care is important, so work with your veterinarian to develop a senior wellness program tailored to the needs of your pet so he or she can age with grace, and stay with you for as long as possible.