Senior / Geriatric Care
What is “Senior?”
Pet’s age much faster than humans. The life-span of a pet depends upon its breed and size. Most pets are considered a senior when they reach approximately 7 years old. Giant breeds many be considered seniors at 5 or 6 while smaller dogs may be called seniors at age 10. Regardless of age, when your pet becomes a senior they require more frequent testing and more extensive examinations.
We recommend a biannual (every 6 months) examination for seniors and for pets with any chronic condition.
These exams, paired with other diagnostics can detect illnesses and reveal problems before they become life-threatening, therefore more treatment options that are often less costly are available, and your pet can enjoy a longer and better quality of life.
Senior screening is also helpful to establish a baseline for future reference. Subtle trends or changes in these tests may give us an indication of early disease and help us reverse it or treat it.
So even if your senior pet is healthy
looking, senior screening is recommended: early detection is key for a healthy
and long life, in pets as in humans.
Here is a list of things we evaluate or address when working with senior pets. Our examinations are based on the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Senior Care Guidelines:
- A Risk factor assessment: based on breed & lifestyle
- Physical condition: weight gain or loss; obesity; changes in body condition or conformation
- Evaluation of skin, coat, nails, and nail bed character; detection and assessment of lumps and bumps
- Presence of lymph node enlargement
- Presence of thyroid nodule for cats
- Hydration status
- Abdominal palpation, especially the size and shape of kidneys and liver
- Vital signs: temperature, pulse, respirations, and pain assessments.
- Cardiovascular and respiratory evaluation: listening to heart sounds, heart rate and rhythm; the pulse rate and quality and evaluated.
- Evaluation of the central nervous system: nerve reflexes, vision and hearing.
- Orthopedic examination: mobility, gait, range of motion, weakness, pain, crepitation of joints, and muscle mass evaluation
- Rectal palpation for dogs.