Dogs under 50lbs are considered seniors when they reach 7 years of age.
Dogs 51lbs and over are considered seniors when they reach 6 years of age.
When a dog reaches its senior years, we will recommend that a more comprehensive physical exam is performed to include blood work and urinalysis to evaluate the internal organs. This is designed as a proactive approach to detect disease before it becomes advanced or life threatening. Early detection and management can help with disease progression and overall quality of life in our senior pets.
Cats are considered to be seniors when they reach 9 years of age. The most common illnesses we see in our geriatric feline patients include hyperthyroidism, renal failure, hypertension, diabetes, oral disease and cancer. With early detection, many of these illnesses can be managed at home with medication, supportive care and diet.
Genetics, nutrition, environment, weight and lifestyle are several factors that can contribute to the life expectancy of your pet. We encourage you to make a note of any changes you observe in you pet’s health and to address them with your veterinarian during your pet’s annual visit or sooner if necessary. Some general signs of illness associated with the aging pet can include
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Appetite changes
- Behavioral changes
- Inappropriate elimination (urine and stool)
- An increase or decrease in weight
- Foul breath
- Change in hair coat
- Lumps, bumps, open sores on skin
- Decrease in activity
- Lameness and/or stiffness
Many of our senior patients suffer from changes in their musculoskeletal system, such as arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases. Pain and discomfort associated with these changes can often be managed with nutraceutical products and if necessary, a variety of pain medications.
Geriatric patients can also exhibit signs of senility, which may include loss of housebreaking, loss of vision, loss of hearing, disorientation, decreased responsiveness to family members and abnormal activity and sleep patterns. If your pet is exhibiting any of these behaviors, please make sure to bring it to the attention of your veterinarian.