Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
Senior pets require routine preventive care and early diagnosis to help them stay healthy as they age.
Proactive veterinary care can help extend your cat or dog's life and good health in their golden years, so it's essential to bring them in for regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they appear to be healthy.
Our veterinarians are available to help geriatric pets in Yucaipa achieve ideal health by finding and treating arising health problems early, and provide treatments diligently while we can still effectively and easily manage the issue.
Typical Health Problems
Because of the improved dietary options and better veterinary care available, companion animals are living far longer today than ever before.
While this is definitely something to celebrate, pet parents and veterinarians now face more age-related conditions than they did in the past as well.
Senior pets are usually more susceptible to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your pup reaches its golden years, there are various joint or bone disorders that could cause them pain and discomfort. A few of the more common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pups include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
It's essential to address these conditions early in order to keep your dog comfortable as they continue to get older. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs could consist of reducing their levels of exercise, using analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is generally a condition associated with senior dogs, this painful problem can also impact your senior cat's joints.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle 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 often noticed by dog owners is not usually reported by cat owners.
It's important for your senior cat or dog to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they get older to spot any cancers early.
Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups even when they appear healthy gives your veterinarian the opportunity to examine your cat or dog for early signs of cancer and other diseases which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
Like people, heart disease can be an issue for senior cats and dogs.
Geriatric dogs can often suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, leading to fluid backups in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease is less common in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is seen frequently. 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, however, this is more frequently in dogs than in cats.
When conditions like these are age-related they can come on slowly, giving geriatric pets time to adjust their behavior, which makes it difficult for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and can be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.
Liver disease in dogs can lead to a range of serious symptoms such as seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your geriatric cat or dog is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with liver disease, they require urgent veterinary care.
Even though cats and dogs can develop diabetes at any stage of their lives, most dogs diagnosed are approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats are over 6 years of age.
Symptoms of diabetes in cats and dogs include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
As pets get older, their kidneys start losing their function. Sometimes, 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 Yucaipa vets often see geriatric cats pets with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly cats and dogs can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to know that incontinence can be a sign of bigger health issues such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet is experiencing incontinence problems, it's important to take your geriatric companion to the vet for a comprehensive examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will thoroughly examine your senior cat or dog, ask for specific details about their home life and perform any tests that might be needed to gain insight into their overall physical health and condition.
Based on our findings, we'll create a treatment plan that could potentially consist of medications, activities, and dietary changes that might be able to help improve your senior pet's health, well-being, and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Prevention plays a key part in helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. It also gives your vet the opportunity to find any diseases early.
Early detection will help preserve your four-legged friend's physical health and find emerging health conditions before they turn into long-term problems.
With regular examinations, your senior cat or dog will get their best chance at long-term quality health.