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Dogs and cats are generally considered senior citizens at the age of 7 years. At this time, pets may begin to slow down, sleep more and may develop health problems. In some cases, you may not notice any change in your pet’s physical condition. However, your veterinarian may perform a physical exam that indicates the beginning of a health problem or laboratory tests may detect changes in the body chemistry that require a change in diet, medication or other treatment.
Many senior pets develop bone and joint problems, impairment of kidney or liver function, dental problems, diabetes or heart disease. In some cases, animals develop cognitive problems that alter their behavior. They may become less engaged with humans or may become irritable or aggressive. These health problems can be treated to ensure your pet enjoys the quality of life throughout his or her older years.
Good care of senior pets starts with high-quality food that provides the nutrients they need for optimum health. These animals should receive regular physical exams to ensure that health problems are found early and can be properly treated before they become larger problems. The pet’s vaccinations should be kept up today to prevent infectious diseases that can be particularly dangerous for older animals. If the animal has a health problem, ensure that he gets suitable treatment and monitoring by the vet on a regular basis. In addition, you should ensure your senior pet gets regular exercise to keep joints limber and to stimulate mental function. Make sure your older pet has a comfortable bed and avoids extremes of temperature. Finally, increase the interactions with your senior pet, stroking and massaging him to provide physical comfort, and provide toys that stimulate cognitive functions. These measures will help your pet to live longer and provide companionship for many years.
Veterinary care has advanced to a high degree so that older patients with health problems can be treated so they live longer lives with improved function to the very end of life. Animals that develop diabetes can be put on insulin, with veterinarians and their staff teaching the owners how to administer the injections. Discomfort from joint or bone problems can be treated with a variety of medications to reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness. Animals with heart problems may benefit from surgery or from medications that help to regulate the heart rate. Medications and special diets can help animals with liver or kidney problems. Pets with impairment of cognitive abilities can benefit from a change in diet, medications, and efforts to stimulate their mental function. Because of these improvements in care, older pets can live longer and happier lives.
The experienced vets at Dessau Veterinary Clinic know that senior pets often have special health problems that require medication and careful monitoring. We offer a broad range of services for our patients, including wellness exams, vaccinations, dental care, spay and neuter surgery, diagnostic services and general surgery. The also provide grooming, boarding, and emergency care. We are committed to providing compassionate senior care to pets in the communities of Pflugerville, North Austin, and the surrounding areas. Contact the Dessau Veterinary Clinic today at (512) 339-3177 to make an appointment to discuss the best ways to care for your pet in his or her older years.