If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right. Switch to Accessible Site

WARNING

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Close [x]

6 Questions to Ask At Your Senior Pet's Next Check Up

As your pet grows older, he or she may develop a range of diseases and conditions associated with aging, such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis and kidney disease. Despite the health problems often associated with aging, your pet can enjoy a full life if you're familiar with the signs and symptoms of common health problems. By partnering with your pet's veterinarian, you'll learn to identify potential signs of trouble. Take a look at these six questions you'll want to ask the vet the next time you visit.

Is My Pet Too Thin or Too Heavy?

It's normal for pets to become less active as they grown older. Unfortunately, a decline in activity can lead to weight gain and increase your pet's risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and other conditions. If your pet is obese or overweight, his or her veterinarian may recommend more exercise, a reduction in portion sizes, a change in diet or other modifications.

Some pets become thinner as they get older. In some cases, they might appear thinner due to a decrease in muscle mass, but may be perfectly healthy. In others, weight loss may be a symptom of an underlying illness, such as diabetes. If the veterinarian is concerned that an illness may be responsible for the weight loss, he or she may recommend blood or other tests.

Does My Pet Need Dental Work?

Tooth decay and gum disease can cause pain, difficulty chewing, bad breath and red, inflamed gums. If dental problems aren't treated promptly, your pet may lose teeth or develop a bacterial infection. Dental infections are dangerous because they can travel to other areas of your pet's body. Your pet's veterinarian may recommend dental work, if needed, and/or a thorough cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.

How Can I Tell If My Pet Has Arthritis?

It's hard to be your usual playful self when your joints ache with every step you take. Luckily, arthritis, a common joint condition in older pets, can often be managed with anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Your pet's veterinarian can share common signs of arthritis, such as difficulty walking or jumping and stiffness, and may also suggest a few things you can do to make your pet more comfortable at home. Installing a ramp to your bed if your pet sleeps with you, buying a litter box with low sides, helping your cat with grooming or giving your pet massages can make living with arthritis easier for pets.

What Are the Signs of Potential Health Problems?

It would certainly be much easier if pets could tell us when a leg hurts or they don't feel well, but since they can't talk, it's important to pay attention to possible signs of health problems, such as:

  • Changes in elimination habits (accidents, frequent urination, constipation, reduced urination, etc.)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Lethargy or lack of interest in usual activities
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritability or other behavioral changes
  • Stiffness, lameness or difficulty walking
  • Seizures
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Lumps or sores
  • Coat or skin changes
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Discharge or bleeding from nose, eyes or other parts of the body
  • Redness or swelling of the gums

My Pet Seems Confused at Times. Is This Normal?

Dementia is another condition that pets share with people. In fact, behavioral changes in older pets may actually be caused by the condition. You may notice that your cat meows continually or that your dog barks randomly. Pets that have dementia may lose interest in regular activities, stop interacting with you and other pets, pace back and forth, become lost and disoriented in your home, spend long periods staring or have housetraining accidents.

Should My Pet Have a Blood Test?

Blood tests often detect common diseases before you pet shows any symptoms. An annual or semi-annual blood test can determine if your pet has diabetes, or liver, thyroid or kidney disease. Early identification of these diseases can help prevent complications.

Although older pets require more attention and care, they can continue to live happy lives with your assistance. If it's time for your furry friend's next visit to the veterinarian, give us a call.

Sources:

VetStreet: 7 Questions Owners Ask About Older Pets, 8/11/15

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/7-questions-owners-ask-about-older-pets

AVMA: Senior Pet Care

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Caring-for-an-Older-Pet-FAQs.aspx

PetEducation.com: Normal Aging and Expected Changes in Older (Senior, Geriatric Dogs

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2110&aid=614

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: The Special Needs of the Senior Cat

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/brochure_seniorcat.cfm

AVMA: Arthritis in Pets

https://www.avma.org/news/pressroom/pages/arthritis-in-pets-video.aspx

Call us at 413-584-1629 or email us to make your appointment today!

THIS ---->https://rivervalleyhousecallvetcom.vetmatrixbase.com/index.php

Office Hours

DayOpenClose
Monday8:00am4:00pm
Tuesday8:00am4:00pm
Wednesday8:00am4:00pm
Thursday8:00am4:00pm
Friday8:00am4:00pm
SaturdayBy App'tOnly
SundayBy App'tOnly
Day Open Close
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8:00am 8:00am 8:00am 8:00am 8:00am By App't By App't
4:00pm 4:00pm 4:00pm 4:00pm 4:00pm Only Only

Testimonials

Dr Allen is absolutely amazing. I contacted her because my elderly cat Clara was very ill, and needed to be put to sleep. My regular veterinarian did not do House Calls and I wanted Clara's passing to be as comfortable as possible- in her own home, on her own bed, surrounded by peace and love. Dr Allen came to my home within three hours of my phone call. She was overwhelmingly kind to both Clara and me. Clara's passing was completely serene, which was exactly what I wanted. I CAN NOT recommend Dr Allen's veterinary services enough. She is simply a WONDERFUL veterinarian, and all pets deserve a doctor like her.

Hadley, MA

Newsletter Sign Up