Geriatric Care for Pets
Help your senior cat or dog feel comfortable and healthy in their old age by bringing them to our Windsor veterinarians for comprehensive geriatric care.
Care for Senior Pets
Every pet parent wants to help their senior pet maintain a good quality of life as they age. Routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis in your cat or dog's golden years can help make this happen.
With diligent care and routine exams, we can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age.
Our veterinarians help geriatric pets in Windsor achieve optimal health by identifying and treating emerging health issues early, as well as providing proactive treatment while we can still effectively and easily manage any problems.
Typical Health Problems
Improved dietary options and better veterinary care, our beloved cats and dogs are living much longer today than they have historically.
While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians now encounter more age-related conditions than they did in the past.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog reaches their golden years, numerous bone or joint disorders can cause pain and discomfort. Some of the most common bone and joint disorders in geriatric pets seen by our veterinarians include hip dysplasia, arthritis, reduction in spinal flexibility, osteochondrosis, and growth plate disorders.
Addressing these issues early is critical to keeping your dog comfortable as they continue to age. Treatment for joint and bone disorders in senior dogs can range from simply reducing exercise levels to using analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs to surgery to reduce pain, stabilize joints or remove diseased tissue.
While osteoarthritis is typically seen in older dogs, this painful condition can also impact your senior cat's joints.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than in dogs. While cats may experience a decrease in range of motion, the most common symptoms of this condition in geriatric cats include loss of appetite, depression, weight loss, poor grooming habits, change in general habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump onto and off of objects. Lameness typically associated with osteoarthritis in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners.
It is thought that about 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. This is why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine exams as they age.
Scheduling your geriatric pet for routine checkups even when they seem healthy allows your veterinarian to assess them for early signs of cancer and other diseases, which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
Similar to people, geriatric pets can suffer from heart disease.
Congestive heart failure is common in senior dogs. This condition happens if the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the chest cavity, lungs 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 in a cat's heart to thicken, decreasing the heart's ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Varying degrees of blindness and deafness in older pets can be caused by degeneration in the eyes and ears. This is more common in dogs than in cats.
Though these conditions are age-related, they may come on slowly. Geriatric pets can adjust their behavior, making it difficult for pet owners to notice symptoms.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and may be caused by hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include jaundice, vomiting, drooling, loss of appetite, increased thirst and diarrhea.
In dogs, liver disease can cause a number of serious symptoms including fever, seizures, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal fluid buildup, jaundice and diarrhea.
If you see any of these symptoms of liver disease in your geriatric dog or cat, veterinary care is essential.
Although diabetes can become an issue for dogs and cats of any age, most dogs are diagnosed between 7 to 10 years of age. The majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are more than 6 years old.
Symptoms of diabetes in cats and dogs include increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, chronic or recurring infections, excessive thirst and cloudy eyes.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both dogs and cats and may require care by a veterinarian with experience in caring for geriatric pets.
- Kidney disease
Pets tend to lose kidney function as they age. In some cases, medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets can cause kidney disease.
While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, we can manage it with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our vets in Windsor often see geriatric dogs and cats with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets may be more prone to accidents as muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence can also indicate a larger health issue such as dementia or a urinary tract infection.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues, it's important that your vet see your geriatric dog or cat for a complete examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Your senior pet will receive a thorough examination from our vets. We will ask about their home life and complete any tests that may be needed to gain addditional insight into his or her conditions and general physical health.
Based on these findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that may include activities, dietary changes and medications to help improve your senior pet's health, wellbeing and comfort.
Preventive care is essential to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. It also gives our veterinarians the opportunity to detect diseases early.
Early detection of disease will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they develop into long-term problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.