My Pet Is Aging…
My Pet is Aging…
Just because your dog or cat is getting older, does not mean that they don’t still have many months and years of joy and companionship still to share with you. It is a passion of ours here at Lawrence Veterinary Hospital to care for our aging patients so they can live their best lives – making sure we are looking at all aspects of their well-being. This includes mobility, mental acuity, supports as they lose sensory input like hearing or vision, navigating sometimes-multiple medications and health conditions, and giving you the tools you need to make the best choices for your beloved old friend
Some important distinctions:
Senior pets have some serious years behind them, maybe a health issue or two, but they love to keep up and aren’t letting age get ahead of them. When eyeing birds in the bird bath or chasing the Frisbee at the park, not many would notice their silvering eyes or that bit of lost flexibility.
These are cats and dogs that we monitor for change in their weight, bodily functions and mobility, screen their blood work each year, and they are often on joint supplements or even need a pain pill every now and then.
During annual physical exams, your medical team with ask questions in regards to any physical or mental changes your cat or dog may be experiencing. This is the time to establish baselines for your pet and to catch health problems early. Many issues, like kidney failure and heart disease, we can significantly prolong the time before symptoms appear the sooner we know about them. For something like the development of cancer, early detection can mean the difference between a cure versus palliative management.
Senior Pet Health Problems
- Eicosa3FF Snip Caps (canine/feline) – concentrated omega3 and omega6 supplement for healthy joints and mental acuity
- Movoflex soft chews (canine) –multi-ingredient joint supplement to strengthen and improve
- Nutramax Dasuquin for Cats (feline) –multi-ingredient s supplement to strengthen and improve joint health
- Purina PropPlan Prime Plus (feline) –proven to extend life expectancy, support muscle, digestion, immune system and brain health
- Science Diet Healthy Mobility (canine)
- Pruina ProPlan Bright Mind (canine) –promoting prolonged mental acuity in seniors
Geriatric pets are feeling those years in every bone when they get up in the morning. They often have multiple, long-term health conditions, and keeping up is something they really aren’t up for these days. They may not be up to speed anymore, but they love their favorite toy just the same, and their good days still outnumber their bad days.
Maybe your pet can’t see, or needs a ramp to get up the stairs, and they have their own pill organizer that gets filled up every Sunday. These are patients we are often evaluating every few months to monitor one or more chronic conditions, medication dosing and frequency adjustments, and making changes in your home to accommodate for physical limitations. For these dogs and cats, their health affects their daily life, but our “delicate egg” pets approach everything with the philosophical patience of old age and a lovely, crotchety resilience.
Hospice pets are our precious companions who are in their last days. Maybe they have debilitating spinal degeneration, or terminal cancer, end-stage kidney failure or progressive dementia. These are pets we know are not going to get better; we are not going to pursue further medical tests or treatments, but we can make them as comfortable and happy in these days as possible. Pain control, anxiety medications, nutritional support, managing any symptoms as much as possible, equipping your family with tools for nursing care at home—these are all steps in home hospice care so you can love on your sweet friend through their final days.
Geriatric and Hospice Nursing Resources:
Link to lists of Amazon of items that can be helpful for the mobility and sensory impaired, urinary and fecal incontinence, as well as multiple resources for the owners of senior cats and dogs
Caring for a geriatric pet or a pet suffering from a terminal disease is stressful and exhausting, even coming from a place of love. Find resources here that can help you cope.