Senior pets need regular preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis throughout their golden years to help them maintain a good quality of life as they get older.
Diligent care once your pet passes middle age can help to extend your pet's life and good health as they enjoy their golden years, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our vets are here to help geriatric pets from Clarksville and beyond achieve optimal health by identifying and treating emerging health issues early, and providing proactive treatment while we can most effectively and easily manage age-related conditions.
Thanks to improved dietary options and better veterinary care, companion cats and dogs are living far longer today than they have in the past.
While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians now face the challenge of treating more age-related conditions in pets than they did in the past as well.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
As your dog reaches their golden years, there are a number of joint or bone disorders that can result in pain and discomfort. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders our Clarksville vets see in geriatric pets include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Addressing these issues early is the key to keeping your dog comfortable as they continue to age. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs ranges from simply reducing levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
Although osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints too.
Signs of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in range of motion the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats include weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners.
It is estimated that about 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. That's why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.
Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups - even when they seem healthy - allows your veterinarian to examine your dog or cat for early signs of cancer and other diseases which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages.
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease is seen less in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition causes the walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function efficiently.
As with people, degeneration in the eyes and ears of your pet can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these conditions are age-related they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
Liver disease is common in senior cats and may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. If your cat has liver disease you may notice symptoms that include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.
In dogs, liver disease can cause a number of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms of liver disease, veterinarian intervention is essential.
As pets age, kidney function tends to decline. In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.
While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
Our Clarksville vets often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of a bigger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.
Our vets will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask about their home life in detail and perform any tests that may be required to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition.
Based on the findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan which could include medications, activities and dietary changes that may help improve your senior pet's health, well-being and comfort.
Regular preventive care is essential to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. It also gives our veterinarians the opportunity to detect the earliest signs of developing conditions.
Early detection of disease allows our vets to provide treatments while the condition is easiest to manage, preventing small problems from developing into more severe long-term issues.
With twice yearly physical examinations, your senior pet will have their best shot at quality long-term health.
Overwatch Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clarksville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.