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Senior Pet Checks

Dogs and cats, like humans tend to have a greater number of medical conditions and problems associated with getting older. A lot of these problems can be picked up with regular health checks. If you notice any problems with your pet such as increased drinking, problems with bladder or bowel control, changes in weight, joint stiffness, etc, please make a note and advise your vet of them on the next visit.

Senior Pet Checks – Dogs

Common problems associated with older dogs;

Arthritis

Degenerative arthritis affects your dog’s joints causing stiffness, reduced mobility and chronic pain. Factors such as age and breed play a part and dogs that are overweight are more at risk. There are many therapies available to slow the progression of arthritis and dramatically improve your dog’s quality of life.

Heart disease

Many different factors contribute to the development of heart disease. Signs include coughing, lethargy and difficulty breathing. The sooner it is identified, the sooner something can be done to slow down the disease and improve quality of life. Usually blood tests, blood pressure monitoring, an xray, ECG or ultrasound are recommended prior to starting medication.

Diabetes

This usually causes increased hunger, thirst and urination together with weight loss. The condition can be diagnosed via blood and urine testing although like arthritis it can only be controlled not cured. Treatment usually involves administration of insulin with diet and weight control. If not treated, serious complications will occur.

Incontinence

Female dogs are prone to hormone dependant urinary incontinence. Treatment for this is available and usually highly successful.

Kidney and Liver problems

These are usually diagnosed via blood and urine testing. If discovered early enough dietary management can help to control the problem. Signs include increased drinking and urination, reduced appetite and weight loss and sometimes behavioral changes.

Senior dogs are those over 7 years of age and it is generally recommended to have your dog health checked every 6 months when they reach this age. A thorough physical examination will be performed by one of our vets and we may also recommend that an annual blood test be performed. This establishes a baseline for future comparison and enables us to identify and treat potential problems at a much earlier stage, sometimes even before any clinical signs are apparent. Early diagnosis often means more effective treatment for your dog which can lead to improvements in the quality and length of their life.

Senior Pet Checks – Cats

Common problems associated with older cats;

Diabetes

Overweight cats are especially prone to diabetes. This usually causes increased hunger, thirst and urination together with weight loss. The condition can be diagnosed via blood and urine testing although like arthritis it can only be controlled not cured. Treatment usually involves administration of insulin with diet and weight control. If not treated, serious complications can occur.

Kidney Disease/ Renal Failure

As cats age, it is quite common for their kidneys to progressively deteriorate. The most common signs first noted by owners are an increase in thirst and urination but a decrease in appetite and weight loss. Some cats with advanced disease may vomit and become very dehydrated and anaemic. Other things such as infection, cysts and tumours can also cause kidney disease. Kidney disease is usually diagnosed by blood and urine testing, sometimes ultrasound examination is also warranted. Management usually includes rehydration with IV fluids in severe cases, dietary changes and sometimes medication to control blood pressure, protein loss from the kidneys and to reduce nausea and vomiting.

Hyperthyroidism

This is due to excessive amounts of the hormone thyroxine being produced by an overactive thyroid gland (usually due to a benign thyroid tumour). The most common signs first noticed by owners include increased thirst and urination but an increased appetite (sometimes ravenous) with weight loss. Some cats can become quite cranky and aggressive. There are a number of ways of treating this condition including radioactive iodine therapy, oral tablets or a transdermal paste (applied to the ear and absorbed by the skin). Sometimes blood pressure medication is also required.

Arthritis

Degenerative arthritis affects your cat’s joints causing stiffness, reduced mobility and chronic pain. Cats that are overweight are more at risk. There are many therapies available to slow the progression of arthritis and improve your cat’s quality of life.

Heart disease

Many different factors contribute to the development of heart disease. Signs include lethargy, increased rate of breathing or difficulty breathing, reduced appetite, sometimes a cough or a wheeze or just being ‘not quite right’. Some cats with heart disease can develop a blood clot most commonly in the large vessels to the hind legs causing extreme pain and paralysis. The sooner heart disease is identified, the sooner something can be done to slow down the disease and improve quality of life. Usually blood tests, blood pressure monitoring, an xray, ECG or ultrasound are recommended prior to starting medication.

Senior cats are those over 7 years of age and it is generally recommended to have your cat health checked every 6 months when they reach this age. A thorough physical examination will be performed by one of our vets and we may also recommend that an annual blood test be performed. This establishes a baseline for future comparison and enables us to identify and treat potential problems at a much earlier stage, sometimes even before any clinical signs are apparent. Early diagnosis often means more effective treatment for your cat which can lead to improvements in the quality and length of their life.

Our fantastic health care team is here to provide your pets with the highest quality of care.