Senior cats and dogs can enjoy a good quality of life as they continue to age — as long as they remain healthy, receive the routine preventive veterinary care they need and have any medical conditions diagnosed early.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health through their golden years, so it's important that they see us for regularly scheduled routine exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinarians are here to help geriatric pets in Glendale achieve optimal health by identifying and treating developing health issues early, and providing proactive treatment while they can still be effectively and easily managed.
Thanks to better veterinary care and improved dietary options, our companion cats and dogs are living much longer today than they have in the past.
While we can certainly celebrate this fact, pet owners and veterinarians are now also facing more age-related conditions than they did in the past.
Senior pets are typically prone to these conditions:
Senior dogs may experience a number of joint or bone disorders that can lead to pain and discomfort. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders that our vets see in geriatric pets include hip dysplasia, arthritis, reduction in spinal flexibility, growth plate disorders and osteochondrosis.
It's essential to have these issues addressed early to help your dog stay as comfortable as possible as they continue to age. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs ranges from simply reducing exercise levels to using anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics to surgery to reduce pain, stabilize joints or remove diseased tissue.
While we typically see osteoarthritis in older dogs, your cat's joints can also be impacted by this painful condition.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle compared to those in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in range of motion, the most common signs of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats include depression, poor grooming habits, change in general attitude, weight loss, urination or defecation outside the litter pain, loss of appetite and inability to jump on and off objects.
While lameness is typically seen in dogs, this symptom is not commonly reported by cat owners.
It is believed that about 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. This is another reason why it's important for your vet to see your senior pet for routine wellness exams as they age.
Booking routine checkups for your geriatric pet even when they seem healthy gives your veterinarian the opportunity to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases that respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
Similar to people, geriatric pets can suffer from heart disease.
It's common for senior dogs to experience congestive heart failure, which happens when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the lungs, chest cavity and heart.
While heart disease is seen less in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition causes the walls of a cat's heart to thicken, leading to a decrease in the heart's ability to function efficiently.
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of blindness in older pets, though this is more common in dogs than in cats.
While these conditions are age-related, they may come on slowly, which may make it difficult for pet owners to notice as geriatric pets gradually adjust their behavior.
In senior cats, liver disease is common and may be the result of 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 cause a number of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is essential.
Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years of age.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
As pets age, their kidneys tend to lose their function. In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.
While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
Our Glendale vets often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of a bigger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your senior dog or cat to the geriatric vet for a thorough examination.
Our vets will perform a thorough examination for your senior pet, inquire about their home life in detail and complete any tests that may be needed to gain additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
Based on these findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that can potentially include dietary changes, medications and activities that may help improve your senior pet's health, comfort and well-being.
Preventive care is critical to helping your senior pet live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. It also allows our veterinarians the chance to detect diseases early.
Early detection of disease can help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they lead to long-term problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.
Limehouse Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Glendale companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.