Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats
To help your cat or dog live a good quality of life as they get older, you need to provide them with routine preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis during their old age.
Proactive care can help lengthen your companion's life and good health as they age, so it's critical for them to attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they appear healthy.
Our vets are available to help geriatric pets in Grass Valley achieve excellent health by finding and treating arising health problems early, and provide treatment while the health condition can still be managed effectively and easily.
Typical Health Problems
Because of the better dietary options and veterinary care, available companion pets are now living longer than before.
While this is news to celebrate, pet owners and veterinarians are now seeing more age-related conditions than they did in previous years as well.
Senior cats and dogs are generally prone to the conditions below:
- Joint or bone disorders
As your pup reaches their senior years, there are various joint and bone disorders that cause them discomfort and pain. A few of the most common that our vets see in geriatric dogs include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.
Having these issues addressed early is critical for keeping your dog comfortable as they continue to get older. Treatment for dogs with a joint or bone issue could include reducing their levels of exercise, using analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, or surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.
While osteoarthritis is generally a problem that's associated with older dogs, this painful condition can also impact your senior cat's joints.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While kitties can experience a decrease in their range of motion, the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in senior cats include weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness that's often seen in dogs isn't usually reported by cat owners.
Many cats and dogs die from cancer every year, so it's important for your geriatric pet to visit their vet for regular wellness exams as they get older.
Taking your senior cat or dog for routine checkups even when they appear healthy allows your veterinarian to assess them for early signs of cancer and other diseases that respond best to early treatment.
- Heart Disease
Like humans, geriatric cats and dogs can suffer from heart disease.
Senior dogs often endure congestive heart failure, which develops when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
While heart disease isn't seen as often in cats, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is fairly common. This condition causes the walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function efficiently.
- Blindness and hearing loss
Degeneration in the eyes and ears can cause varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, but it's more common in dogs than in cats.
When these types of problems are age-related they could arise slowly, giving geriatric pets time to adjust their behavior, making it difficult for pet owners to notice.
- Liver disease
Liver disease is common in senior cats and can be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in felines include increased thirst, drooling, loss of appetite, jaundice, vomiting, and diarrhea
Liver disease in dogs can cause a handful of serious symptoms such as seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.
If your senior cat or dog is showing any of the symptoms of liver disease, you need to get them veterinary care as soon as possible.
Even though dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any stage of their lives, most dogs are diagnosed when they are between 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years of age.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.
- Kidney disease
As cats and dogs get older, their kidneys often start losing their function. Sometimes, kidney disease can develop as a result of the medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.
While chronic kidney disease can't be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.
- Urinary tract disease
Our Grass Valley vets often see geriatric pets with urinary tract issues and incontinence problems. Elderly pets can be at a higher risk of having accidents as the muscles controlling their bladder begin to weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of a bigger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.
If your senior pet is having incontinence issues, it's important to take them to your vet for a thorough examination.
Veterinary Care for Seniors
Our vets will give your senior pet a comprehensive examination, ask for details about their home life and conduct any tests needed to get additional insight into their overall condition and physical health.
Depending on what your vet finds they might recommend a treatment plan that could potentially include medications, activities and dietary changes that could help improve your senior cat or dog's health, well-being, and comfort.
Routine Wellness Exams
Preventive care is a critical part of helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. It also provides our veterinarians the chance to spot any arising diseases early.
Detecting diseases early helps preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health conditions before they turn into long-term problems.
With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health.
New Patients Welcome
Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about caring for pets in the Grass Valley area. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.