Geriatric Care for Pets
Our Argyle veterinarians provide geriatric care for senior cats and dogs focused on helping your older pet feel comfortable and healthy in their old age.
Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
To help senior pets maintain a good quality of life as they continue to age, routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis are essential throughout their golden years.
Diligent veterinary care can help to extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even when they appear healthy.
Our veterinarians work to help geriatric pets in Argyle achieve optimal health by identifying and treating emerging health problems early, and providing proactive treatments while we can still effectively and easily manage them.
Typical Health Problems
Thanks in large part to improved dietary options and better veterinary care, companion cats and dogs are living far longer today than they have in the past.
While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians now need to help older pets cope with more age-related conditions than they did in the past as well.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog reaches their senior years, there are a number of joint or bone disorders that can result in pain, discomfort, and reduced mobility. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pets that our veterinarians see include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Treating these geriatric issues early is essential for keeping your dog comfortable as they continue to age. 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.
While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.
The signs of osteoarthritis in cats are more vague and harder to spot than those 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 is estimated that as many as 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. That's why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.
Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups even when they seem healthy allows your veterinarian to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
Heart disease is as much of a concern for geriatric pets as it is for older people.
Senior dogs commonly 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.
Although heart disease is seen less frequently in our feline friends than it is in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition causes the walls of a cat’s heart to 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 may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Signs of liver disease to watch for in your cat 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.
Dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, however most dogs are diagnosed with diabetes at about 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 strong risk factor for diabetes in both dogs and cats.
- Kidney disease
The kidneys tend to lose their function as your pet ages. 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.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Argyle 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 geriatric dog or cat to your geriatric veterinarian in Argyle for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will thoroughly examine your senior pet from nose to tail, ask about their home life in detail and perform any tests that may be required to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
Based on their findings, your vet will recommend a treatment plan that may include medications, activities and dietary changes to help improve your senior pet's health, well-being and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Regular preventive care is the cornerstone to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. Routine wellness exams also give our veterinarians the opportunity to spot the earliest signs of disease.
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 their best chance at quality long-term health.