They grow up so fast... much faster actually.

Watching our pets grow older is a comforting and rewarding experience. It’s hard to believe the same bundle of energy tearing around the yard or jumping from one piece of furniture to another is the same calm and kind old friend curled at our feet.

As you see your beloved pets every day and ageing is so gradual, your pet reaching senior status can sneak up without you being fully aware of it. It is a widely accepted theory that dogs and cats age approximately seven years to our one year and are generally considered ‘senior pets’ from seven years of age.

As your furry friend ages two kinds of changes occur. Age-related change such as hearing loss, changes in vision or reduced activity are normal and with good teamwork with your veterinarian can be managed. Our senior pets can also suffer from many of the same complaints we do as we age such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and arthritis. Similarly these disease processes can also be treated or managed.  The key to a long and healthy life for your pet is the early detection of health issues. That's why it's important for your senior pet to have a health exam twice a year.

What is a senior health exam?

During a senior health check, you can expect a thorough examination of your pet’s health and in-depth conversation with your vet.  This will involve examining your pet from top to tail and also an assessment of their dietary requirements and preventative health schedule such as flea and heartworm prevention.

Often your vet will take a sample of your pet’s urine and blood is for diagnostic testing, to help determine any underlying or early signs of health issues that cannot be detected through examination alone.  

Diagnostic testing can identify changes in your pet’s body that may require close monitoring or early intervention.  Keep in mind that all normal results is great and that establishing baseline values for your pet is a very useful and important tool if they become unwell down the track. Having a baseline result before any pathological changes occur can demonstrate the degree to which your pets internal organs are affected at a later stage and the rate at which it has progressed.

What can I do for my senior pet?

The healthcare your pet receives throughout his or her lifetime can help minimise and prevent disease as they age.  Proper health care includes periodic examinations by your veterinarian, tailored vaccination programs, parasite control, regular exercise, dental care and a diet that meets your pet’s changing nutritional needs.

In addition to the health care recommended here, the most important thing you can do for your old friend is pay attention. Your vet will be able to guide you to recognise the signs of senior disease processes and other common problems.  It is important to remember that old age is not a disease and that even subtle changes in their behaviour at home can indicate underlying health issues.

Your observation can catch many potential difficulties before they become life-threatening.  When you take your pet to the veterinarian you can give the doctor details that may indicate a problem. Be prepared to answer any questions asked of you about your pet’s behaviour: your vet doesn’t see your old friend eating, playing or resting every day. It is important that you notice any changes in eating habits, activity, sleep or elimination and communicate them to your veterinarian.

The companionship and joy that senior pets provide to you and your family is incredibly precious, so enjoy every moment with them.

If you would like to book your senior pet in for a free senior pet health check, download the voucher below and make an appointment online today!