Caring for our senior citizens - a lifetime of care

Now that Bonnie the Golden Retriever is over 7 years old, she is classed as a senior pet. It is important from now on that Bonnie's parents take extra steps to ensure we can prolong and enhance her quality of life. In human years Bonnie would now be equivalent to a 60 year old human, and as we all know at that age we all become a little more fragile and require more regular health checks by our doctor.

As our pets age, it is important to make sure we conduct regular and thorough health check-ups at our veterinary clinic.

Age Busters - Eight tips on how to keep your senior pet looking and feeling great!

  1. Regular health check-ups - just as senior citizens have regular check-ups and tests, it's important for your pet too. We recommend Bonnie has a check-up every six months.
  2. Healthy teeth - healthy inside! Keep your pet's teeth and gums clean.
  3. Love and time - your pet is changing, they many not hear or see you like they used to, so give them your patience and attention.
  4. Formulated diet - especially for seniors without the extra calories. Help your pet to maintain a healthy weight as there are various senior pet problems relating to obesity.
  5. Watch, be observant! - if your pet changes in appearance, behaviour or appetite, this may be a sign of illness. Make sure you let your veterinarian know immediately.
  6. Let's get physical - maintain a regular exercise program that your pet can manage.
  7. Environment - prevent the stress of aging and look out for suitable modifications that can be made to your pets living quarters to make life easier.
  8. Creatures of habit - older pets love routine, if possible try not to change their daily schedule.

Watching them grow old

It is believed by many cat and dog owners that as our pets get older they don't require routine preventative health measures, such as vaccinations, as often anymore. People generally think that because they have had these treatments so many times over their life their immunity will be stronger. This unfortunately is an old wives tale. As our pets age, their immune system begins to decline, therefore making preventative health measures more important.

The most common ageing conditions we see in our cats and dogs are :-
- Dental Disease
- Arthritis
- Obesity
- Tumors (lumps and bumps)
- Renal Disease (Kidney Disease)
- Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiac Insufficiency (Heart)
- Hyperthyroidism in cats (Overactive Thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism in dogs (Under active Thyroid)

Bonnie's conclusion

Earlier this year Bonnie had her senior health check. The veterinarians conducted a blood test to check her internal organs. They listened to her heart and they checked her over from nose to tail for anything abnormal. The veterinarian also took her blood pressure. It was found that Bonnie had two lumps, some tartar on her teeth and was suffering quite badly from arthritis.

Bonnie's blood test was normal which was a relief. Bonnie was admitted to hospital for a general anaesthetic, her two lumps were surgically removed and sent to the lab for biopsy. She had her teeth cleaned and the veterinarian x-rayed her legs and hips to check the severity of her arthritis.

Her lump results came back from the pathologist all clear, nothing nasty. Her breath now smells much better and she is on monthly injections for her arthritis as well as a special dry food. Bonnie is also having a blend of green lipped muscle and shark cartilage powder designed to help arthritis in cats and dogs.

Bonnie's parents are much happier and so is she. The family can now enjoy regular walks without Bonnie getting sore and she is no longer struggling to get up after sitting or lying down.

So why not book your senior pet in for a senior health check.