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Posted on 09-13-2013

Age is not a disease, but it is true that senior pets are more likely to develop disease than young or adults pets.

Most dogs and cats are considered seniors at the age of 7. Some of the larger breed dogs are senior by the age of 5.

Dogs and cats are prone to aliments as they age such as kidney failure, heart and liver disease, cancer, thyroid disease, dental disease, cognitive dysfunction and arthritis.

Even though our pets have been domesticated, they still have their "wild instincts" such as hiding or masking signs of disease. They do this to not show weakness or vulnerability to other pack members. So, as the pet owner, it is our responsibility to make sure they stay healthy or try our best to notice signs of possible problems since they can not tell us something is wrong.

Catching problems early is often the best way to prevent them from becoming more serious. We can't stop the aging clock. Some pet owners may even say, "Fido" is getting old what's, the point in doing anything? By performing quality medical care, our feline and canine friends have the ability to live much longer, healthier lives.

It is best to educate our pet parents on the early warning signs of disease that a senior pet may be having. So veterinary care can be sought sooner rather than later.

Early Warning Signs:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Repeated or unexplained vomiting
  • Bad breath, drooling
  • Increased or loss of appetite
  • Excessive panting or exercise intolerance
  • Change in behavior - disoriented or excessive whining
  • Unusual bowel habits - diarrhea or constipation
  • Losing or gaining weight

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our office in Chester Springs right away. We at Eagle Animal Hospital recommend doing senior exams every 6 months. This allows the doctor to do full exams on your pet twice a year instead of only once yearly. This can help determine if any changes are occurring with your senior pet. We also recommend doing annual bloodwork. This is another great way to evaluate your pet's health. The bloodwork includes a full chemistry (liver, kidney, pancreatic values, electrolytes), CBC (checks red, white blood cells), Thyroid level, a urinalysis (checks for sugar or proteins). We also have the capability to check blood pressures and EKG's, as well as performing x-rays.

The bloodwork can show metabolic changes before your pet will show signs or symptoms. This will allow us to treat disease in it's early stages.

During the months of October, November, and December Eagle Animal Hospital is promoting "Senior Health Awareness" by offering a discounted package on exams, bloodwork, x-rays, EKG's, and blood pressure checks. Please call 610-458-8789 or e-mail us to request an appointment for your senior pet. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.

Written by Vicki Guy, veterinary technician

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