FOR DOGS AND CATS OVER 7 YEARS OF AGE
Our pets age at 7-9 times the rate that we do – it is therefore very important to have regular physical examinations to allow potential problems to be identified and dealt with before they become a serious threat. We recommend these every 6 months once over 7 years of age which is equivalent to us seeing our doctor only every 4-5 years.
Annual vaccinations are just as important for our older pets – their immune systems may not be as good as they used to be. Succumbing to an infectious disease is the last thing these pets need.
Older pets are still susceptible to mosquito bites – and infection with heartworm – so continue with those monthly or daily tablets or take up the option of a yearly heartworm prevention injection!
Our older pets often need high concentration foods as they tend to eat less as they get older – there are some great commercial diets for our “senior citizens” which more closely meet their changing requirements as they age. Overweight pets are another story – excessive weight as they age can lead to problems such as arthritis, heart problems, and diabetes – there are also commercial diets available to treat or prevent obesity. Obesity will decrease lifespan in our pets. Our health care team is happy to provide advice on the best feeding for the pet. Why not arrange a visit with one of our trained nurses for our FREE weight clinic.
Care of our pets’ teeth is always important but never more so than when they start to age.
Poor dental health can lead to:
• Bad breath, sore mouths, smelly coats (as they groom), inappetance and lethargy
• Gum infection, tooth disease and tooth loss (this means very bad breath!!)
• Kidney infection and disease (bacteria from the mouth travel in the blood to the kidneys)
• Heart disease (bacteria from the mouth form colonies on the valves of the heart leading to valve damage, heart murmurs and heart failure)
A scale and polish or extractions may be necessary – regular use of bones can help. There are also prescription diets to stop tartar buildup on the teeth and therefore avoid dental disease.
LUMPS AND BUMPS
Tumours are common in our older pets – skin tumours are particularly common. It is usually not possible to tell if these are malignant or not without doing needle aspirates or biopsies. It can be very risky to take the “Let’s just watch it” approach. Get lumps checked sooner rather than later as many very nasty cancers are still surgically treatable when small. If you watch it you may be watching it become untreatable!
If you bring a urine sample to your pet’s physical examination, we can check that the kidneys are concentrating the urine appropriately and that there is no sign of blood or protein in the urine which may indicate kidney disease. Kidney health in maintained through diet and dental care!
GENERAL HEALTH PROFILE
This is a blood test which we can take at the physical to check your pet’s status for anaemia, liver disease, kidney disease and many other problems which can develop with age. It gives us an ‘inside look’ at your pet’s health status and can pick up many diseases early.