We believe our loyal, older animal companions deserve the best of care. Cherokee Trail Veterinary Hospital is dedicated to promoting a long, healthy life for our special senior pets.
Senior Pets Are Special
With advanced age comes an increase in diseases and conditions common to senior pets. These can include arthritis and mobility challenges, weight changes and special nutritional needs, cancer, diabetes, or heart, liver and kidney disease. Our veterinarians work closely with you to create a health plan designed to meet the special needs of your senior pet.
As members of AAHA, we use these guidelines as a framework for care of our senior patients.
Initiating Senior Care
The lifespan of dogs and cats can vary depending on breed and overall health. Typically, however, smaller breeds live longer than larger dogs, and cats live longer than dogs. Our veterinarians will determine the appropriate time to initiate senior pet protocols for your animal companions.
Senior Wellness Exams & Testing
As your dog or cat enters the senior years, regular exams become essential to catching and treating diseases and conditions as early as possible. We recommend senior dogs and cats have a complete exam and laboratory testing every six months.
At that time, we review past history and discuss any changes occurring since the last visit. This helps us identify developing problems and conditions. Early treatment for most issues is less traumatic and uncomfortable for pets and their owners.
Laboratory tests are recommended every six months for healthy senior dogs and cats. Tests may include the following:
- Complete blood count
- Blood chemistry panel
- Parasite evaluation
We recommend an additional blood test for hyperthyroidism in senior cats. Other tests and assessments we might recommend include feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, blood pressure, urine protein, cultures, electrocardiography, X-ray or ultrasound imaging, eye exams, and echocardiography.
Nutrition & Exercise
Senior pets may experience changes in nutritional requirements, resulting in unhealthy weight loss or obesity. At each senior exam, our veterinarians weigh your pet to determine if dietary adjustments are needed.
Obesity may be the result of reduced exercise and overfeeding. Special foods can help control weight and reduce consumption of nutrients that are risk factors for the development of diseases.
Keeping your pet active will help preserve physical and mental health. Dogs or cats with arthritis or other degenerative diseases may require mobility aides, therapies, treatments, or supplements to keep them comfortable and interactive. We create a plan that addresses your pet’s unique nutritional needs, mobility issues, and pain management requirements for extended happiness and contentment.
The Pet Health Center at WebMD offers these senior pet care guides: