Geriatric Care for Senior Pets
Senior pets require routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis throughout their golden years to help them maintain a good quality of life as they age.
The term "quality of life" is used to describe the daily lifestyle of an elderly pet. If we can meet the basic needs of an ailing or chronically ill cat or dog, we are confident our efforts to preserve life are justified.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's good health as they age, so they must attend regularly scheduled vet check ups, even if they seem healthy.
Our Lincoln vets help geriatric pets stay active in their golden years by treating health problems as soon as they appear. We also provide proactive treatment while we can still effectively manage them.
Typical Health Problems
Companion cats and dogs are living far longer today than they were in the past, thanks to better dietary options and veterinary care.
While this is certainly to be applauded, pet owners and veterinarians now face a greater number of age-related conditions than in the past.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
Several joint or bone disorders can cause pain and discomfort in your dog as they get older. Arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduced spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders are among the most common joint and bone disorders seen by our veterinarians in geriatric pets.
It's critical to address these issues early on to keep your dog comfortable as they age. The use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints, and reduce pain, are all options for treating joint and bone issues in senior dogs.
While we usually associate osteoarthritis with older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.
Osteoarthritis symptoms in cats are more subtle than in dogs. 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 are all common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats. Cat owners are less likely to report lameness than dog owners.
Cancer kills about half of all pets in the United States, according to estimates. As a result, it's critical for your senior pet to have regular wellness exams as they get older.
Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups, even if they appear to be in good health, allows your veterinarian to look for early signs of cancer and other diseases that respond better to treatment when caught early.
- Heart Disease
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to pump blood efficiently, causing fluid to build up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While cats are less likely than dogs to develop heart disease, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is fairly common. The walls of a cat's heart thicken as a result of this condition, reducing the heart's ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
In older pets, degeneration of the eyes and ears can cause deafness and blindness in varying degrees, though this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are caused by old age, they may appear gradually, giving geriatric pets time to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and can be caused by high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst are all signs of liver disease in cats.
Seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss are all serious symptoms of liver disease in dogs.
Veterinary care is required if your geriatric dog or cat exhibits any of the symptoms of liver disease.
Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, the majority of dogs diagnosed with diabetes are between the ages of 7 and 10, and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are older than 6 years.
Excessive thirst, increased appetite with weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections are all signs of diabetes in dogs and cats.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
The function of a pet's kidneys tends to deteriorate as they age. Medication used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets can sometimes cause kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is not curable, but it can be managed with a combination of diet and medication.
- Urinary tract disease
Geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues are frequently seen by our Lincoln veterinarians. Because the muscles that control the bladder weaken with age, elderly pets are more prone to accidents. However, incontinence can be a sign of a larger health problem, such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet is having incontinence problems, you should take him or her to the veterinarian for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our veterinarians will examine your senior pet thoroughly, ask detailed questions about their home life, and perform any tests that may be necessary to gain additional insight into his or her overall physical health and condition.
We'll recommend a treatment plan based on the findings, which could include medications, activities, and dietary changes to help improve your senior pet's health, well-being, and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is critical for your senior pet's health, happiness, and fulfillment. It also allows our veterinarians to detect diseases at an early stage.
Early disease detection can help preserve your pet's physical health by catching emerging health issues before they become long-term issues.
Regular physical examinations will give your pet the best chance for long-term health.
Our veterinarians in Lincoln offer end-of-life care and euthanasia to assist in making your pet's final moments calm, comfortable, and free of pain.
Your vet will complete a thorough quality of life assessment of your pet to ensure that there are no other alternatives to try. We can offer the information and support needed for you to make decisions during this difficult time.
Pet Memorial Care
A pet memorial can help us cope with the loss of a beloved pet. It can also facilitate a celebration of the wonderful impact the beloved pet has had on our lives.
A pet memorial can range from an urn to a necklace with your dog or cat's ashes. At Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital, we can help you decide the right memorialization option for you.