Pet Geriatric Care
Veterinarians at University Veterinary Hospital in Berkeley are very experienced in meeting the needs that geriatric pet health demands. At our office, your pet’s well care is of utmost priority to us – more so in their older age. Just as humans are more prone to developing health conditions with age, a senior dog or cat needs extra attention to ensure health and wellness for their long and happy life. Depending on the size and breed of your pet, he or she may be classified as a senior as young as five or as old as eleven.
There are certain conditions that occur more commonly in senior pets than in younger ones. Often, pet owners or veterinarians can determine if a dog or cat has hidden ailment that may be affecting their joy and quality of life. Due to physical changes taking place over the years, older pets may have one or several of the following health needs:
- As their metabolism slows down and they become more sedentary; older pets tend to gain weight. It’s a known fact that excessive weight may curtail their lives. Excessive weight causes fatty deposits in the liver and diabetes (cats) and puts extra pressure on the joints and the back (dogs). Overweight pets have difficulty getting up and moving around so they tend to become even less active.
- As pets enter their mature years their food needs change too. Diet that was appropriate for them at a younger age becomes too rich and potentially harmful for them. Older pets have special diet needs.
- Joint disease- especially in large breeds of dogs but can be found in smaller dogs and cats too. Knees, shoulders and hips are just a few of the joints which become inflamed and painful as pets mature. Also spinal arthritis is a common disease in some breeds of dogs.
- Pets too are subject to “silent killers”. Older pets may suffer from heart disease, internal masses, kidney disease, low thyroid function (dogs) and too high thyroid function (cats) and dental disease. If these diseases are diagnosed early, they can be treated or contained. However, in most cases, pets do not let us know they are not feeling well until a disease is far advanced.
- Older pets tend to develop “lumps” and “bumps” on their skin. These may be unsightly for the most part, but on occasion these may be malignant tumors that should be removed.
- Dental tissue infections tend to sneak in, more so at older age. These infections continuously enter in to the blood stream, circle through the body, some time settling in kidney, liver and heart. This puts unnecessary extra stress on the defense system, adding stress and robbing years of quality life.
That is why we, at University Veterinary Clinic, have launched a program we call: HEALTHY AND HAPPY MATURE YEARS. As part of this program we employ all the tools and techniques for early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases. We also educate senior pet owners about how to care for their older pets. As part of this program we would like to offer your pet:
- A thorough senior pet physical exam-so we can evaluate the teeth, skin, joints for arthritis and evaluate lumps both external and internal.
- Comprehensive blood test to identify a score of possible internal disease.
- Fecal exam because older pets have parasites too that can cause them discomfort and harm.
- Hip, spine and joint x ray films (dogs)- to identify joint and mobility problems.
- Blood pressure test and ECG to make sure your pet does not suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Dental disease treatment (if necessary).
- Education on how to be aware of a mature pet’s special needs.