It can be difficult to pinpoint when a pet has entered his or her "senior years", but on average, around the age of 8 or 9 years old depending on breed/size. It is often around this age that we start to see a change in physical health in our pets, and when recommended screening and wellness checks are brought up.
Why do we care about promoting optimal care and providing preventative and therapeutic medicine for our senior pets?
For starters, we are our animal’s caregivers, therefore we are responsible for providing our pets with a life that is as close to free from pain and discomfort as possible. Our best chance at achieving this is through preventative medicine (preventing serious problems before they start) as well as early detection of problems, allowing us to come up with effective treatment plans. As your veterinary providers, it is up to us to carefully examine your pet, ask in depth questions about how your animal is doing at home, go over options for tests that can give us insight into your pet’s body systems, and recommend activities, medications, supplements and diet changes that may make a big difference in your senior pet’s health and comfort.
In some cases, it is easy to get frustrated and feel disconnected with an aging pet that is beginning to have health problems that take time to manage at home and require frequent veterinary care. It can be hard to understand what is going on with your once healthy happy pet, and guilt can set in, wondering if you’re providing your pet with what it needs. As a veterinary team, we aim to keep the human-animal bond strong by taking away the frustration, guilt, and confusion that can come with caring for a senior pet.
Additional areas to think about when evaluating an aging pet:
- Quality of Life
- Red Flags
- Diagnostic Screening
- Common Diseases
- Diet Recommendations
- Financial Considerations
- Cognitive Dysfunction (Senility)
- Saying Goodbye