Westbury Animal Hospital
713.723.3666 · 4917 S. Willow Dr. Houston, Texas 77035 

Senior Pets

Sara Kaplan–Stein, DVM

Advancements in veterinarian medicine have dramatically increased our companion animal’s life expectancy. Depending on a dog’s breed, geriatric or senior group is generally considered if a dog is older than 6 - 7 years of age, and cats are considered geriatric if older than 7 years of age.

So what does that mean for our aging pets?

  1. Bi–annual(6 month) physical examinations: Companion animals’ age quickly compared to humans and six months out of the life of a geriatric pet is really a significant amount of time.
  2. Annual blood work and urinalysis: Hopefully these tests reveal normal baseline values, however it could allow us to catch something early and address it sooner.
  3. Blood pressure monitoring: Animals just like humans can be prone to hypertension (high blood pressure), which may indicate an underlying disease such as renal problems.
  4. Diet: Each pet is different; based on physical examination and diagnostics the veterinarian can better advise on diet chooses.
  5. Arthritis: As the animal ages their joints can deteriorate just like in humans. Pain medications, anti–inflammatory medications, nutraceuticals, diet, and exercise/weight loss can be used to make the animal more comfortable and help to slow or even stop the changes seen with arthritis.
  6. Certain diseases can be seen in geriatric pets. In cats, there is concern for hyperthyroidism, renal disease, diabetes mellitus, and specific cancers. In dogs, disease such as hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease), diabetes mellitus, renal or liver disease, and specific cancers.

As your pet ages, it is our job to keep him or her as healthy as possible. The above recommendations are just a few ways that allow us to better help your pet. 

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