Cats and dogs reach the geriatric stage at approximately 7 years of age. While the aging process is not a disease itself, changes that come with aging may cause your pet to be predisposed to disease processes. Animals in their senior years are more likely to develop health problems. While it may be difficult to watch your pet grow older, several steps can be taken to ensure your family member will lead a healthy active lifestyle for years to come.

At home, it is important to watch your pet for any changes in behavior and appearance. This includes decreased energy, weight loss or gain, change in appetite, stiffness or soreness of joints, and trouble breathing. Talk with your veterinarian if any of these changes occur. The doctors and staff at Madison Park Veterinary Hospital want to be sure that the connection between you and your senior pet continues to grow for many more years. Pets may not be with you for your whole life, but help make your life whole.

A special health plan is necessary for your senior pet including exams twice yearly, as a preventative measure. Early detection of diseases leads to faster treatment and a happier, healthier pet. Yearly “senior wellness” blood work and urine testing is also recommended for pets in their geriatric years. This is an important diagnostic tool to get baseline values, and to detect diseases such as diabetes and liver disease. We also encourage using Glucosamine supplements to help with joint care.