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As any health-conscious senior citizen can tell you, the "golden years" can be a challenge, but they can also be wonderfully rewarding if you make wellness a priority -- a statement that holds just as true for pets as it does for people. If you have senior pets, you need to take some extra measures to make sure they continue to enjoy a high quality of life in spite of the elevated risks for disease and chronic pain that accompany this period of life. Our Etobicoke veterinary team at Richview Animal Hospital provides a variety of services specifically tailored to help older animals thrive.
You may already know that many animals age more rapidly than humans -- so how do you know when your pet has reached the senior (geriatric) stage? There's no exact line drawn, but most dogs and cats can safely be thought of as geriatric by the age of 7. (Very large breeds of dog tend to have shorter life spans and thus enter this phase a little earlier.) With elevated years comes elevated risk for a variety of chronic ailments. As your pet ages he becomes increasingly vulnerable to problems such as:
Some age-related health problems affect specific types of animals. An inner-ear balance problem called idiopathic vestibular disorder, for instance, is known to afflict older dogs, while older cats may suffer from a painful dental problem called tooth resorption.
The extra health challenges that accompany the senior years make it more important than ever to schedule regular wellness examinations for your beloved companion. Twice-yearly evaluations for senior animals let us keep a close watch for these threats. Lab testing can reveal signs of organ failure, diabetes, cancer and other problems. If your pet has a systemic issue such as high blood pressure, thyroid trouble or diabetes, we can recommend the right mix of medications, dietary adjustments and other measures to keep that condition under optimal control.
Nutritional requirements for senior pets shift at the 7 year mark. Since senior pets show decreased levels of activity, his or her daily caloric intake will decrease. Your senior pet also requires different levels of particular nutrients and vitamins responsible for the changes in the cardiovascular, urinary, renal, and digestive systems. Richview Animal Hospital can recommend specific diets for your pet's individual physical needs.
Moreover, many age-related ailments are closely linked to obesity -- a common problem in older, more sedentary animals. Weighing your pet twice a year can help us determine whether he needs to be eating less and/or exercising more. Arthritis and other chronic pain can respond nicely to gentle exercise, weight loss, anti-inflammatory foods and medication. Surgery can ease severe joint problems.
Pets can develop dental, sensory and cognitive problems as they age. We can provide extra dental checkups and cleanings along with oral or dental surgery, if needed, to maintain optimal comfort and health. We can also guide you on home modifications that can help your pet get around more easily.
Call 647-490-1622 to learn more about our senior pet care services. We can make your pet's golden years more golden!