Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital understands the needs of aging pets, and our veterinarians work with you to provide the right support your pet needs to maintain a healthy, active life.
Senior Wellness Exams
Dogs and cats are generally considered “senior” when they reach seven years of age. At Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, we recommend all senior pets be seen at least twice annually. Depending on individual health, some pets may require more frequent exams.
While all pets should have annual blood work, seniors typically need additional testing based on medical conditions and changes in health status. Establishing a baseline of blood work is extremely helpful for tracking subtle changes over time. Like humans, what’s normal for one pet may not be normal for another, and changes in blood work can be indicative of larger issues.
Other more common health tests for seniors include:
- EKG heart health screening
- Tonopen (eye pressure test for glaucoma)
- Schirmer’s tear test (for dry eye)
- Blood pressure monitoring
Sometimes, people put too much emphasis on aging as a disease instead of recognizing it as a process. Old dogs can get sick just like young dogs, and many of the illnesses they get are treatable with full recovery.
Our veterinarians encourage owners to have their senior pets checked if their behavior has changed. We can often treat underlying conditions that not only make a pet more comfortable, but can also result in restored health and extended life.
Common issues that should be checked include:
- Changes in appetite (both increased and decreased)
- Changes in thirst, especially increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Changes in bowel movements
- Not moving around as much
- Taking longer to sit down or stand up
- Restlessness at night
- Cats reluctant to jump up on furniture
- Increased sleeping
A Senior Lifestyle
In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, some senior pets benefit from a specialized diet or the use of nutritional supplements. At Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, we carry products that are specially formulated to support senior pets and pets with arthritis. Our doctors will evaluate your pet’s condition and make appropriate recommendations.
Just like humans, senior pets benefit from staying active, but they may not be able to perform the same activities they did when they were younger. Maintaining strength by taking longer walks or modifying favorite activities is an important element of caring for an aging pet.