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Senior Pet Care

Senior pets need special attention and care. We are well versed in dealing with the issues that your aging pet will encounter.

Comprehensive medical care, good nutrition and proper training allow pets to live up to their potential as long-term family members. The care given to your pet throughout its life can determine how long he or she will remain a happy, healthy member of your family.

As pets age, two types of changes occur: age-related changes and pathological changes. Age-related changes, such as vision and hearing loss, are normal, and develop in most animals. These changes cannot be prevented, but we can help you and your pet adapt to these changes.

Many pathological changes or diseases can, on the other hand, be prevented or successfully treated. With care to promote health and prevent disease in senior or geriatric pets, your pet can remain healthy and active well into its twilight years.

Because of advances in medicine and proper preventative care, pets, as well as people, are living longer, healthier lives. Physical examinations, blood tests and urinalyses are all performed more frequently on senior and geriatric animals. This is because many common problems of this growing population of senior citizen pets, such as kidney, heart and thyroid disease, can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.

BI-ANNUAL SENIOR WELLNESS EXAMINATION

Pets age more rapidly than humans.  Changes occur in the function of the body with the aging process. Some of these changes can be seen from the outside: weight gain or loss, stiffness, dull hair coat, loss of sight or hearing. Regular examinations and follow-up care by your veterinarian will help ensure that your pet continues to be your loving companion in the years to come. A year between physical examinations for your dog or cat is like four-seven years between annual examinations for us. We recommend physical exams every six months for our senior patients.

RELATIVE AGE OF PETS IN HUMAN YEARS

Animal's Age 0-20 lbs 20-50 lbs 50-90 lbs 90+ lbs
1 15 15 14 12
2 23 24 22 20
3 28 29 29 28
4 32 34 34 35
5 36 38 40 42
6 40 42 45 47
7 44 47 50 56
8 48 51 55 64
9 52 56 61 71
10 56 60 66 78
11 60 65 72 86
12 64 69 77 93
13 68 74 82 101
14 72 78 88 108
15 76 83 93 115
16 80 87 99 123
17 84 92 104 -
18 88 96 109 -
19 92 101 115 -
20 96 105 120 -


BI-ANNUAL EARLY DETECTION BLOOD TESTING

An early detection blood profile is one of the most thorough, across-the-board, diagnostic tools available to a veterinarian. It shows the health of all the major organ and glandular systems including the kidney, liver and thyroid and can show evidence of low-grade or chronic problems. It also provides the doctor with a window into the patient’s basic body chemistry so that we can make dietary recommendations or have a baseline on which to base subsequent tests.

Some changes occur internally and can’t be discovered without laboratory testing. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms of illness can be seen, in liver or kidney disease for example, organ damage is already in the advanced stages.

In order to detect organ damage in its early stages, when it can be treated most successfully, we recommend blood testing as part of your pet's bi-annual physical examination once he or she is older than 6 years. These tests can also be used to provide a baseline for comparison in the event of future illness, allowing us to identify changes that may assist in faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Test results serve double duty by providing information before surgery or dental procedures, allowing for safer anesthesia.

VACCINATIONS AND THE SENIOR PET

Unfortunately there is no safe, effective drug available to combat any of the major viral diseases of dogs or cats. Vaccination is the only effective form of protection. Vaccination enables your dog or cat to fight infection by stimulating the immune system so it makes antibodies against the viruses.

Older pets have decreased resistance to disease, so keeping their boosters current is very important. To maintain this protection, dogs and cats must be vaccinated regularly so the level of immunity is always high enough to prevent disease. However, some experts now believe that dogs and cats over age 15 have been vaccinated so many times they may no longer need vaccines for some diseases. We may adjust our vaccine protocols when your pet becomes very elderly.

NUTRITION

One of the most important keys to helping your dog or cat live longer is meeting his or her dietary needs. Obesity and weight loss are both common in older animals. Kidney, liver or heart problems may change a pet’s requirements for sodium, phosphorus, protein and fat. Changes in activity levels and muscle mass are common in older animals, as are changes in their ability to digest and utilize nutrients. We can help you determine the type of food that’s best for your aging pet.

GENERAL SIGNS OF CONCERN

You know your pet best.  If you’ve noticed something isn’t quite right, you’re probably on to something.  If you notice one or more of the following, there could be a problem. Give us a call and we’ll help you figure out the best course of action.

  • Sustained, significant increase in water consumption or urination
  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Decreased appetite or not eating for more than 2 days
  • Increased appetite
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Diarrhea for more than 2 days (less with small breeds)
  • Struggling to defecate or urinate
  • Extended lameness beyond 2 days, or lameness noted in multiple limbs
  • Decreased vision
  • Open sores or scabs on the skin
  • Foul mouth odor or drooling
  • No longer able to or struggles to chew dry food
  • Abdomen larger than normal
  • Increased amount of time spent sleeping or inactive
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive panting
  • Bloody stool or urine
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Persistent coughing or gagging
  • Rapid or heavy breathing at rest

 

Testimonials for
Dr. Behrns

"Your calm and caring demeanor and having everything done at home is very helpful for all of us."

-Leslie, Littleton

Crestone Mobile Veterinary Services 719-588-4024

Crestone Mobile Veterinary Service, PO Box 699, Crestone, CO 81131

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