Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
In order to help your pet maintain a good quality of life as they grow older, senior pets require routine preventative and proactive treatments as well as early diagnosis throughout their golden years.
Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled routine wellness exams, even if they seem healthy.
Our veterinarians are proud to help your senior cat or dog to achieve optimal oral health at our clinic serving Astoria and all across Queens. With regular routine healthcare, we identify and treat emerging health issues before they progress to more serious problems.
Typical Health Problems
Because of improvements in nutritional options and veterinary care, our cats and dogs are living to far older ages today than they ever have in the past.
While this is absolutely something worth celebrating, it means that pet owners and vets now face far more age-related conditions than they did in the past.
Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your dog grows into their golden years, there are a number of joint or bone disorders that may result in pain and discomfort for your pet. Some of the most common of these include arthritis, osteochondrosis, reduces 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 osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.
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 aging pet in for routine checkups, even when they seem to be in perfectly good health, allows our vets to detect early signs of cancer and other diseases which respond best to treatment in their earliest stages.
- Heart Disease
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.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.
When these kinds of conditions are related to your pet's age, they may onset slowly, allowing your pet to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for their owners to notice the change.
- Liver disease
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 it's possible for dogs and cats to develop diabetes at any age, most dogs who are diagnosed will be so around 7-10 years old, and for cats, at 6 years.
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.
- Kidney disease
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.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Astoria 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.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will provide a comprehensive examination of your senior pet. We will also ask in detail about their habits, nutrition, and home life and will also conduct any diagnostic tests which are required to get additional insight into your pet's health.
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.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is essential to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. It also allows our veterinarians to detect diseases early.
The early detection of diseases and disorders will help to preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they develop into long-term problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance of quality long-term health.