Geriatric/Senior Wellness Care - Dogs
Older (geriatric) dogs have different needs than younger dogs. Many of the problems that occur in older dogs are not easily recognized by the owner, and may not even be apparent on examination by the veterinarian -- unlike people, our pets can't tell us when they don't feel well. Therefore, lab testing will often reveal problems to us before the pet appears sick, allowing us to take a proactive or preventative approach to the dog's health.
Because dogs age much faster relative to humans, geriatric dogs should receive extra attention. Large dogs age more quickly than small dogs, so the age at which a dog is considered to be a “senior” varies – very large dogs may be considered geriatric by the time they reach five or six years old, while a tiny dog may not reach the senior category until nine or ten years old.
An exam every 6 months is an important way to watch for any developing health concerns. Your dog will be given a thorough nose to tail physical examination. Exams include checking your dog’s ears, eyes, teeth, lymph nodes, thyroid, heart, lungs, abdomen, skin, and more. The best dog care begins with comprehensive wellness exams, so that problems can be discovered and treated before they become serious.
Senior Wellness Testing, a comprehensive blood and urine work-up is suggested for senior dogs. This comprehensive chemistry profile and CBC is accompanied by a thyroid profile and urinalysis. The work-up gives a very in-depth view of your pet’s health. Catching problems early is critical in providing the best long-term outcome.
Your dog should still receive their rabies, distemper, and leptospirosis vaccines on a regular basis. Additional lifestyle vaccines may include Bordetella (kennel cough). Heartworm testing and a stool (feces) examination for worms and parasites are also recommended on an annual basis.
A quality, senior diet is important for good health. Your dog’s diet can be discussed at your visit.
Joint health is another area of concern in many senior dogs. Arthritis is a very common problem of older dogs. During your dog’s physical exam we can evaluate joint health and make suggestions regarding weight, exercise, diet, joint supplements and, if needed, drugs.
Is your dog overdue for a Senior Wellness exam?
If so, call us to schedule an appointment.