Our senior pets need to be treated with tender, loving care. Age itself is not a disease but there are many ailments that can affect our senior pet’s quality of life. At these ages, we need to see older pets twice yearly for exam and monitoring bloodwork. Sometimes, depending on overall health, the veterinarian will decide that an older pet will no longer receive vaccinations.
This is not an easy judgment for the doctor to make and should ONLY be made by a doctor based on the overall risk vs. reward assessment they will make for each pet. In general, older animals’ immune system is weaker than when they were in their prime and they can be more susceptible to the infections prevented by these vaccinations just as they were when they were puppies and kittens. Bloodwork will allow us to follow and trend liver and kidney function along with other parameters and help to pinpoint earlier detection of disease so that we can manage them much more effectively.
Mobility issues are commonly addressed and we will assess mobility at each exam and help you to understand some of the most subtle signs of problems so that, together, we can customize a plan to keep your pet comfortable for years to come. At this stage, it is also imperative to continue with the regime of comprehensive parasite prevention.
Cognitive function is also a need that is addressed as our pets age. Sometimes things we chalk up to “getting old” may be due to a decrease in cognitive function. Please let us know if there are any changes in your pet’s behavior such as pacing, sleep/wake cycle changes, bathroom habits, vocalizations, etc as these can be signs that there are changes in function. There are medications and supplements we can use to help optimize your pet’s brain function and keep him acting younger much longer.
Please call us today and we can schedule your older pet appointment.