September is Senior Pet Health MonthPublished September 22, 2011
I have yet to meet a passionate animal lover who doesn't immediately succumb to the enchanting charms of a kitten or puppy. Even folks who profess to “hate” felines are often quickly cast under the delightful spell which only a cute, playful kitten weaves to perfection. In fact, it has been my experience with any felinophobe that the louder they protest, the harder they fall... in love that is.
However, before we know it, our baby bundles of fur are grown up and have become adults, leaving kittenhood or puppyhood behind in favor of becoming a senior pet. Through the following years we share our hearts with them, we are blessed by their strong devotion and their loyal companionship which brings us untold joy. But most of all they have given us the greatest of all gifts; unconditional love.
However, as we all know too well, dogs and cats age at a much more accelerated rate compared to humans. In fact, by the time they reach the age of seven, they are considered geriatric pets, and may be at greater risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer.
By providing your elderly pet with a thorough annual wellness exam, including blood work, your veterinarian will be able to test your senior pet for many medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, urinary tract infections and any dermatological conditions, along with cancer screening. Checking the condition of your pet’s teeth and gums is highly essential as well.
Dogs and especially cats are quite adept at hiding pain and illnesses until any underlying medical conditions are far advanced, therefore becoming difficult to treat and cure. Since many illnesses start with very subtle signs, naturally proactive steps by pet owners are crucial in effecting a diagnosis in order for treatment to be offered in a timely manner.
Elderly pets are prone to debilitating joint problems, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to help alleviate the pain associated with these conditions. Additionally a referral can be made to a holistic veterinarian, licensed to practice acupuncture, which can greatly facilitate pain relief for pets who are affected with these and other conditions that respond positively to this alternative treatment.
Since September has been set aside as Senior Pet Health Month, this is an excellent time to set up an appointment with your veterinarian. Some practices may even offer special discounts to help clients “celebrate” this very important aspect of pet care and prolong the life of your furry best friend.
What are your thoughts about annual senior wellness exams? Share them with a comment.