ADULT AND SENIOR PET CARE
"It is a terrible thing for an old woman to outlive her dogs"- Tennessee Williams
What Age Is A Senior Pet?
Typically, pets are considered to be seniors around the age of 7. Of course, this will vary according to a pet’s species, size, and breed. In the case of canines, smaller dogs tend to have longer lifespans than their giant-breed counterparts. For example, a giant-breed dog may be considered a senior as young as 5 years, while a small-breed dog may not reach senior status until 10–13 years of age. A large parrot, such as a Macaw, can live 50 years. The typical cat might live to 14 or 15 years. Other factors that will affect how individual pets age include body weight, nutrition, environment, and overall health. As your pet becomes older, you may notice some graying of fur around the eyes or muzzle. Perhaps he or she is also beginning to slow down. These are obvious signs of aging and aren’t really cause for concern. However, other subtle changes can take place gradually, and they could be signs of a more significant underlying condition. That’s why it’s essential that older pets receive regular pet wellness exams. These appointments enable our veterinarians to carefully monitor your senior pet and address any problems in their early stages.
Senior Symptoms To Watch For:
If you notice your pet exhibiting any symptoms such as :
behavioral changes (decreased activity, disorientation, less responsive to verbal commands, sleeping more, etc.)
metabolic changes (such as weight gain or weight loss, changes in eating or drinking habits, loss of house training or litterbox training, increased urination)
physical changes (limping or stiffness, poor vision, lumps or bumps, vomiting and diarrhea, changes in breathing, bad breath)
*Then it is recommended that he or she be seen by our veterinarians.
Preventive Health Program
Due to the fact that medical problems increase as a pet ages, we recommend bringing your pet in for a complete physical biannually. During this appointment, our veterinarians will weigh and examine your pet from nose to tail, including his or her eyes, ears, skin, hair coat, teeth, mouth. Our veterinarians will use this opportunity to speak with you about any changes in your pet’s appetite, drinking habits, or behavior. Depending upon your pet’s breed, age, and lifestyle factors, we may recommend selected lab tests (such as a complete blood count, serum chemistry profile, thyroid profile, urinalysis, radiographs, or fecal parasite screening) be performed to screen for potential conditions or diseases, as well as establish baseline measurements for future use.
At Petchester Veterinary, we understand that there’s a fine line between protecting pets from disease and over-vaccinating them. Our veterinarians regularly review our vaccination protocols to ensure we are keeping up with current veterinary research and the guidelines of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA Council on Biologics and Therapeutics), the American Animal Hospital Association, and the American Association of Feline Practitioners. In many cases, depending on your animal’s risk factors, we might recommend performing antibody titers in place of vaccination where, from a blood sample, we can determine if your animal has protective antibodies or immunity for the common pet diseases.
Pet Nutritional Counseling
Bi-annual pet wellness exams enable us to monitor your pet’s weight and physical condition. Our veterinarians will be happy to provide nutritional counseling to ensure your pet is obtaining the appropriate nutrients and calories, based upon his or her species, breed, age, activity level, and other health factors. As an animal ages, his/her nutrtional needs and requirements change so you should be prepared to alter his/her diet factoring in these changes.
Pet Dental Care
Periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs and one of the most common in cats. Establishing good oral care is essential for your pet’s health especially since advanced periodontal disease can lead to other systemic infections. Our veterinarians and staff have extensive veterinary dentistry training and experience. We will evaluate your pet’s mouth and advise you regarding appropriate at-home care. Should a pet dental cleaning be required, we will perform it using state-of-the-art equipment, skilled veterinary dental hygienists, and compassionate care.
Pet Parasite Screenings
Westchester County has a large population of both domestic and wild animals, so we have a high incidence of parasites including Giardia, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Because these parasites can be transmissible to humans, it is recommended that your pet have an annual fecal test. Heartworm preventives offer pets protection from not only heartworms, but also from the most common intestinal parasites as well. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) strongly recommend that all pets be on a heartworm preventive year round, regardless of risk. Our veterinarians will be happy to discuss the various pet medications available and which one might be best for your pet. We will also assist you in determining whether a flea and tick preventive would be beneficial to your pet, based upon his or her lifestyle and exposure to risk.
If your pet has not been microchipped, our veterinarians can perform this service for you. It is a quick procedure that ensures your pet is permanently identified, even if his or her collar is removed. Should your pet ever become lost while hiking or on vacation, a microchip will enable a shelter or veterinary hospital to contact you so that you may be reunited. To learn more about this procedure, you can go to Home Again.