To help your pet maintain a good quality of life as they continue to age, our senior pets require routine preventive vet care and early diagnosis and treatments to help them age gracefully.
Diligent preventive care is critical to helping your pet remain healthy and their normal energetic selves as they age. Top this end, it's important for them to regularly attend wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinarians are here to help provide geriatric vet care in Austell so your pet can achieve optimal health by identifying and treating emerging health issues early, and providing proactive treatment while we can still effectively and easily manage them.
Because of improvements in dietary options and advancements in veterinary care, our cat and dog companions are living far longer today than they ever have in the past.
While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians now face more age-related conditions 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 in geriatric pets that our veterinarians see include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Addressing these issues early is essential for 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.
While we generally think of dogs when we think of osteoarthritis in pets, this painful health condition can also affect your senior cat's mobility and quality of life.
Symptoms 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 believed that approximately 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 senior pet in for a wellness exam even when they seem perfectly healthy allows our vets to examine them for early signs of cancer and other serious diseases that respond best to treatment in their earliest stages.
Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.
Senior dogs will commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, This describes when their heart isn't effectively pumping blood, causing fluid to back up into their heart, chest cavity and lungs.
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.
The degeneration in function of your pet's eyes and ears can lead to blindness and deafness and is most common in older dogs than senior 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.
In geriatric cats, liver disease can be quite common and may be the result of a number of different underlying conditions, including hyperthyroidism
In senior cats, liver disease is common and may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.
Liver disease in dogs 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, veterinary care is essential.
Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years of age.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
As pets age, their kidneys tend to lose their function. 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 Austell 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 conduct a detailed exam of your senior pet, ask you about their home life and habits, assess their nutritional needs and conduct any further diagnostic testing that may be required in order to gain a complete picture of your companion's overall health and condition.
Based on the findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that can potentially include medications, activities and dietary changes that may help improve your senior pet's health, well-being and comfort.
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 diseases early.
The early detection of disease will help to prevent health issues from ballooning into major medical problems, preserving your senior companion's health and wellbeing.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.
Bullard Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Austell companion animals. Contact us today to book your dog or cat's first appointment.