Senior Pet Health
Our pets age much faster than humans, with larger breeds aging faster than smaller breeds. See the following age charts from the Pet Health Network to see if your pet is considered a senior pet:
With better preventive care available and quality dietary options for our pets, they are now living longer than ever. Our senior pets experience a lot of the same diseases as older humans: diabetes, thyroid imbalances, cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, bone/joint issues, heart disease and senility.
Changes seen in our pets related to senior pet diseases can be mistaken for what one may consider "normal age changes" such as decreased activity, decrease or increase in appetite, increase in water consumption, more frequent urination, exercise intolerance, weight gain or loss, changes in social interactions, new or enlarging growths/tumors, changes in their coat, decreased grooming, inappropriate urination, and / or changes in sleep pattern. If your pet is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is time for to schedule a check up.
Even "healthy" senior pets should receive regular physical exams (every 6 months) to catch potential issues early. With a lot of the diseases commonly plaguing senior pets, early diagnosis and intervention can significantly extend the quality time your pet has left.
Once your pet is a senior, even if they appear healthy on the outside, we recommend annual blood work screenings that include a complete blood count, thyroid level check, serum chemistry analysis and urinalysis. In addition to potentially catching a disease early in the process, this also establishes a baseline for your pet if they are to become ill in the future.