Because of the shorter lifespan of our pets Arnett Animal Hospital stresses the importance of regular vaccinations and routine pet physical exams. Thorough pet check-ups and preventive care can help alleviate serious health problems. Our staff realize the need to get young animals off to a good physical start, as well as care for your senior pet. Our patients are very important to us and a long, enjoyable life is our goal for them.
These pet check-ups take about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your pet’s health history. The doctor inspects every aspect of your pet, including eyes, ears, and teeth; checks its lymph nodes and abdomen; listens to its heart and lungs and checks and the skin for parasites. He may recommend some lab testing to further insure a complete medical examination and history. The visit will probably include some vaccines, depending on the pet’s environmental risk factors and age. Your pet is treated as an individual and doctor focuses on tailoring health care toward the individual pet’s needs.
Senior Pet Care
Pets age 6 to 7 years for every human year. Today, many veterinarians recommend that senior pets have a veterinary exam every six months. In human terms, it’s still equivalent to having a checkup every three years – and a lot can change in three years. The check-up should include a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry profile, and urinalysis. Your pet’s veterinarian may recommend other tests to insure a total progressive workup.
Watch your senior pet for any changes in appearance or behavior that may signal illness (changes in behavior, in eating or drinking, sleeping, or maybe elimination routines?). Bring these changes to your veterinarian’s attention. Early detection of many disorders can facilitate their cure or delay their progression.
One of the most important things you can do for your senior pet is to make sure they maintain their proper weight. Many senior pet problems have been linked to obesity and inactivity. Specially formulated senior pet foods that are lower in calories and have high-quality protein can be helpful. However, watch your pet for any negative reactions any time you introduce a diet change. Do not give your pet vitamin supplements unless approved or prescribed by its doctor.
Maintain a schedule of regular exercise but remember that your pet may not be able to move as quickly or agilely as he or she used to. Be on the look out for progressive limping, problems getting up from a lying position or climbing stairs. These may be signs of arthritis. Be sure to alert the doctor during your pet’s next visit. Our goal is to provide the best quality of life to our senior patients.
Even with our doctors’ best efforts, sometimes something can go wrong. Do not hesitate to contact our office if your pet shows any signs of the following:
- Loss of appetite, noticeable weight loss or gain, or excessive water drinking. Forced, runny, or uncontrolled waste elimination.
- Abnormal discharges from the nose, eyes, vaginal area, or rectum.
- Loss of hair, dandruff, a ragged or dull coat, or open sores.
- Foul breath or excessive tartar deposits on teeth.
- Unusual behavior, sudden viciousness, or lethargy.
- New lumps, difficulty getting up or lying down, or limping.
- Excessive head shaking, scratching, licking or biting of any part of the body.
Together with you, the owner, we hope to give your pets a long and healthy life.