Question: How do I know when my dog or cat is a "senior" and what should I do to support normal aging concerns?
Answer: It has often been stated that dogs and cats age 7 years to every one of ours. This is somewhat true; pets unfortunately do age at a much faster clip then us. Larger breed dogs typically age even faster than smaller dogs or cats. When dogs reach seven years of age and cats are 10 years of age, they are termed "seniors." The most common disorders facing our senior pets are: nutritional concerns, dental disease, arthritis, eye disorders, liver/kidney disease, endocrine abnormalities, heart disease, cognitive dysfunction and cancer.
Similar to humans, as we age the most important type of medicine is preventative medicine. We want to catch these potential disorders in the early and reversible stages before they become a problem. As seniors, routine semi-annual to annual exams, base line blood work, urinalysis and nutritional guidance are some of the most important ways to keep our loved pets healthier longer. For example, In both liver and kidney failure, the disease is fairly advanced before symptoms even appear. In most cases, owners do not realize there is a problem until 75 percent of the functional organs are not working; by this point, the animal is likely in chronic organ failure and treatment options may become limited. By being proactive with our pets health care, we have seen pet lifespans become longer and quality of life become greatly improved. If you have a senior pet, do them and your family a favor and set up an appointment today with your veterinarian.
Veternarian Charlie Meynier owns The Vail Valley Animal Hospital and ER, which has locations in Eagle Vail and Edwards with on-call vets available after hours and an emergency hospital in Edwards that's open 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. For more information on services call 970-949-4044 or visit www.vailvalleyanimalhospital.com.