When pets become ‘seniors’, their health requirements will change. In additional to their vaccinations, weight check and dental examinations, ‘seniors’ also require:
- 6 monthly health checks – highly recommended and in some cases, they are necessary if they are an ongoing prescribed medication (see our section on represcribing medication for more information). Just think about the aging process of pets, if pets age seven years to our one year, they are still only seeing the Vet every 3 1/2 years, so lots of health changes can occur!
- Gait – this is how your pet walks. The Veterinarian will assess how your pet walks and discuss and reductions in exercise, difficuly getting up, which could be indicative of arthritis
- Behaviour – any abnormal changes in behaviour could be indicators of pain
- Medications – discussing what medications your pet is on and making sure they are still effective. In some cases, medications can cause changes in the body, this is due to the way the body has to metabolise the medication. For this reason, blood testing may be strongly recommended to check body function.
- Blood testing – this is recommended to be performed each year once they become a senior. This should never be considered as ‘upselling’ by your Vet. By performing a ‘Total Annual Blood Profile’, we can catch and chart changes in such organs as the kidneys and liver. Did you know that without blood testing, your pet may not exhibit any signs of disease until 80% of the function of that organ is gone. The damage that occurs is irreversible. By catching any changes early, there are things that you can do to help to slow the progress. This can include diet and medications
- Diet – there are a lot of diets on the market now, particularly aimed at fighting the signs of ageing. We recommend Hills Youthful Vitality as a standard senior diet. In our waiting room you will also see a large range of Hills Prescription diets. These are designed for specific problems such as or arthritic pets, there is Hills Prescription j/d (joint diet), pets with weight and joint issues there are combination diets such as Hills Prescription Metabolic + j/d, two benefits from the one diet, diets for those with kidney disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, etc
The following chart is an example of how dogs and cats age age. It is made available from : http://www.ava.com.au/sites/default/files/AVA_website/ASAVA_StandardsofCare_Web.pdf