Geriatric or “Senior” Care

So, when is a pet considered a “senior”? In general, cats live longer than dogs, and small breeds of dogs live longer than large breeds. Beyond that, the life span will vary with each individual, and your veterinarian will be able to help you determine what stage of life your furry friend is in. Your veterinarian is a great source for more information to determine when your pet reaches the golden years.

Scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the most important steps pet owners can take to keep their pets in top condition. When dogs and cats enter the senior years, these health examinations are more important than ever.

We recommend that all adult pets receive annual examinations, but senior pets may need a thorough physical examination more than just once a year. Along with examining the body systems, we will assess your pet’s body condition and make dietary and exercise recommendations to help your pet maintain its ideal body weight. In addition, we will carefully assess the health of your pet’s teeth and gums, as dental disease can be a significant problem for senior pets.

We may recommend blood work (CBC, chemistry profile and thyroid function tests) and urinalysis. We call this bundle of tests a “senior profile.” These tests will enable us to detect changes that indicate a disease is present and may allow us to slow or stop its progression. If necessary, we may recommend other diagnostics (ultrasound or radiology) to help improve your pet’s health as well.

You should observe your pet and look for changes that may indicate an underlying disease:

  • Change in appetite or weight loss/gain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Urination or defecation in the house
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urine frequency, volume, straining etc.
  • Difficulty rising, walking or climbing stairs
  • Confusion, disorientation, anxiety or changes in sleep patterns
  • Persistent cough
  • New lumps or bumps

It is common to assume these signs are a normal part of the aging process; however, they may indicate underlying disease process. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to make an appointment and have your pet evaluated.

At Goldsmith Veterinary Clinic, we can provide the care and understanding that you and your aging pet need. We will take the time to assess your pet’s health concerns and discuss with you the management of your pet’s unique and changing needs. Call us today for your pet’s needs.