Our Smokey Point veterinarians offer a range of geriatric care services for senior cats and dogs to help them feel comfortable and healthy in their golden years.

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Geriatric Care

For senior pets to maintain a good quality of life as they continue to age, they need routine and ongoing preventive veterinary care and early diagnosis.

Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy. 

Our veterinarians are here to help Smokey Point geriatric pets maintain optimal health by identifying and treating emerging health issues early, and providing proactive treatment while they can still be easily managed. 

Geriatric Care for Pets, Smokey Point

Common Health Problems in Seniors

With improved dietary options and better veterinary care in recent years, companion cats and dogs are living much longer than they have in the past. 

While this is certainly wonderful news, pet owners and veterinarians must now face more age-related conditions than they did in the past as well.

Senior pets are often prone to the following conditions:

  • Joint or bone disorders

    Geriatric Dogs

    As your dog reaches their golden years, they may experience various joint or bone disorders that can result in pain and discomfort. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pets include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.

    Addressing these issues early is essential for keeping your dog comfortable as they age. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs ranges from reduction in levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.

    Geriatric Cats

    While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, it can also affect your senior cat's joints.

    Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more not as obvious as they are in dogs. Although cats can experience a decrease in range of motion, the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats are loss of appetite, weight loss, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners. 

  • Cancer

    Approximately 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. This is why it is of utmost importance for your senior pet to undergo routine wellness exams as they age.

    You should bring your geriatric pet in for routine checkups even when they seem healthy because this allows your veterinarian to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases that respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages. 

  • Heart Disease

    Just like in people, heart disease can arise in geriatric pets.

    Senior dogs often suffer from congestive heart failure. This is when the heart doesn't pump blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.

    While heart disease is seen less in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively 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 ears and eyes can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in senior pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.

    When these conditions are age-related they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice that anything is wrong. 

  • Liver disease

    Liver disease is common in older cats, and may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.

    Liver disease in dogs can cause a number of serious symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, fever, seizures, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.

    If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is essential.

  • Diabetes

    Dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, but most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years old, and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes when they are are over 6 years old.

    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 pets age, their kidneys tend to lose their function. In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.

    Though chronic kidney disease can't be cured, it can be managed quite well with a combination of diet and medications.  

  • Urinary tract disease

    The vets at our Smokey Point animal hospital often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder 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 experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.

Veterinary Care for Seniors

During the routine exam, our vets will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask you questions about their life at home, and perform any necessary tests to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition. 

Based on the findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that can potentially include medications, activities and dietary changes that may help improve your senior pet's health, well-being, and comfort. 

Routine Wellness Exams

Preventive care is essential to your senior pet's ongoing good health because it gives our veterinarians the opportunity to detect diseases early. 

Early detection of disease will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they develop into more serious problems.

Regular physical examinations give your pet the best chance at quality long-term health. 

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