Geriatric Care for Pets
Geriatric Care for Dogs & Cats
For pets to maintain their optimal health into their senior years, they require regular preventive health care and early diagnosis.
Proactive veterinary care can help lengthen your senior pet's life and good health as they get older, so it's essential for them to attend routinely scheduled wellness exams, even if they appear to be healthy.
Our vets are available to help the geriatric pets of Egg Harbor Township obtain excellent health by detecting and treating arising health issues early, and providing diligent treatment while we are still able to easily and effectively manage them.
Typical Health Problems
Because there have been improvements in the dietary options and veterinary care available, senior cats and dogs are living longer today than they ever have before.
While this is something to celebrate, pet owners and veterinarians are starting to face more age-related problems than they have in the past as well.
Senior pets are prone to the following medical conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your pup enters their golden years, there is a handful of joint and bone disorders that could cause your pet discomfort and pain. A few of the more common joint and bone disorders in geriatric dogs include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Attending to these conditions early is essential in keeping your dog comfortable in their senior years. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs ranges from simply reducing levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
Even though osteoarthritis is usually a condition we associate with older dogs, this painful issue could also impact your senior cat's joints.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are typically more subtle than in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in range of motion the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats include 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. Lameness typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners.
It's important for your senior pet to see their vet for routine wellness exams as they get older.
Bringing your geriatric pet to the vet for routine checkups even when they look healthy gives your veterinarian the opportunity to examine your companion for early signs of cancer and other diseases that generally respond better to early treatment.
- Heart Disease
Heart disease can be as problematic for geriatric pets as it is for people.
Senior dogs can often suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease is seen less frequently in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is fairly common. This problem can make the walls of a cat’s heart thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are age-related they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common In senior cats and can occur for reasons such as high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.
Liver disease in dogs can lead to a handful of severe symptoms such as seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your geriatric pet is displaying any symptoms of liver disease, call your vet for immediate veterinary care.
Even though dogs and cats can get diabetes at any stage of their lives, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years old.
The common symptoms of diabetes in both cats and dogs include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity increases the risk of diabetes for cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
As cats and dogs get older, their kidneys often start to lose their function. Sometimes kidney disease can develop as a result of the medications used to treat other common conditions found in geriatric pets.
While chronic kidney disease can't be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Egg Harbor Township vets regularly see geriatric pets with urinary tract conditions and incontinence problems. Elderly pets can be at risk of accidents because the muscles controlling their bladder weaken, but it's important to know that incontinence can be a sign of a larger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet is experiencing incontinence issues it's essential to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a comprehensive examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will give your geriatric pet a thorough examination, ask for details about their home life and perform any tests needed to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
Depending on their findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that could potentially consist of medications, activities, and dietary changes that might help improve your senior pet's comfort, health, and well-being.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is essential to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. It also provides our veterinarians with the chance to find diseases early.
Detecting diseases early will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health problems before they turn into long-term issues.
With regular physical examinations, your senior pet will get their best chance at quality long-term health.
Always Welcoming New Patients
At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we always accept new patients into our veterinary family. Our veterinarians are passionate about the health and well-being of Egg Harbor Township pets. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.