Byron Pet Clinic

25 Frontage Road NE
Byron, MN 55920

(507)775-6738

byronpetclinic.com

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever before.

Older dogs and cats are more likely to encounter health problems than younger pets

Studies indicate that 36% of senior dogs suffer from osteoarthritis, more than 85% have dental disease, and 18% have cognitive disfunction.


As your pet nears 7 years of age (5 years of age in Giant Breeds), preventive senior exams every 6 months can help assess your pet's current health, provide a baseline for monitoring changes in the years ahead, and help detect health problems in the early stages, when diseases can be treated more effectively.

Compared to humans, old age problems may progress up to 7 times faster in senior pets. Having your senior pet examined only once a year is like a senior person visiting the doctor only once every seven years.

Comparative Age Chart

Relative age of Your Dog in "Human Years"

Age

Dog's size in pounds

years

0-20

21-50

51-90

90 +

5

36

37

40

42

6

40

42

45

49

7

44

47

50

56

8

48

51

55

64

9

52

56

61

71

10

56

60

66

78

11

60

65

72

86

12

64

69

77

93

13

68

74

82

101

14

72

78

88

108

15

76

83

93

115

16

80

87

99

123

17

84

92

104

18

88

96

109

19

92

101

115

20

96

105

120

-

= Senior

-

= Geriatric


Symptoms

Changes in behavior or appearance may be the first indication of a problem. However, these signs may not be apparent in the exam room during your veterinary visit.  It is important for you to watch for subtle changes, especially in stoic older pets. Please use the following form to help you analyze your pet.

Signs of aging:

-Difficulty climbing stairs
-Difficulty jumping up
-Increased stiffness or limping
-Loss of housetraining
-Increased thirst
-Increased urination
-Changes in activity level
-Excessive panting
-Circling/Repetitive movements
-Confusion or disorientation
-Excessive barking
-Less interaction with family
-Decreased responsiveness
-Tremors or shaking
-Skin and haircoat changes
-Changes in sleeping patterns
-Less enthusiastic greeting or behavior
-Altered appetite
-Weight change

 

 

Common Health Conditions of Senior Pets

Dental Disease

Inflammation of the teeth and gums may lead to pain, infection, tooth loss, bad breath, kidney and heart disease, and, as a result, decrease your pet's life expectancy.

Obesity

As your pet's metabolism slows down, weight gain can increase his or her risk of arthritis, disc disease, and diabetes.

Endocrine Disease:

Cushings
Diabetes
Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism

Aging pets often experience changes in thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal gland function that can negatively affect the heart, digestive system, as well as liver and kidney.

Kidney 

Failure of this organ can lead to chemical imbalances, anemia, compromised immune function, and blood clotting defects as well as altered mental capacity. Kidney disease is a leading cause of death in geriatric cats.

Chronic Urinary Tract Infections can easily occur without you being aware. These are painful, and can predispose your pet to bladder stones.

Liver

Failure can lead to chemical imbalances, anemia, compromised immune function, and blood clotting defects as well as altered mental capacity.

Heart Disease 

Pets with heart disease can experience difficulty breathing, fatigue, exercise intolerance, and lethargy.

Arthritis

Arthritic joints are not only painful, they make it difficult for your pet to climb stairs, run, or even jump into your lap.

Vision Loss

Older animals are at risk for cataracts and nuclear sclerosis (a natural aging process that "clouds" the eye).

Cancer

Early detection may improve the prognosis. Many treatments are available and most have few side effects.

Senility or
"Old Dog"
Behavior Changes

What people may pass off as just "getting old," can actually be symptoms of a treatable disease. Pets suffering from canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome may appear disoriented, forget housetraining, sleep more, and interact less with family members.

Senior Exam

With frequent checkups, at least twice a year, we can screen for common senior diseases. By diagnosing and treating problems earlier, we may be able to slow the disease process and prevent pain and discomfort.

In addition to a complete physical examination, diagnostic tests can help detect many diseases before your pet displays signs of a condition. Even if results are normal, the findings give you veterinarian a good baseline to identify and monitor changes in your pet's health as the years progress.

Physical Examination

We can check for physical signs of cancer, arthritis, heart and lung disease, dental disease, or cataracts.

Complete Blood Count
(CBC)

This test helps identify infections, anemia, and certain types of cancer as well as problems with bleeding and the immune system.

Serum Chemistry Profile

This blood test can help identify diseases of the liver and kidney, and endocrine disorders such as Diabetes or Cushing's.

Complete Urinalysis

A urine sample can help test for kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections, and bladder stones.

Fecal Exam

A fecal sample can be checked for internal parasites and bacterial overgrowth.

Other Tests

Depending on your pet's overall health, we may recommend additional tests such as blood pressure measurement, radiographs, electrocardiography (ECG or EKG),  thyroid (hyperthyroid or hypothyroid) or adrenal gland (Cushing's or addison's) testing, as well as liver, pancreas, and small intestine function tests.


Senior Nutritional Needs

Nutritional needs of pets change as they get older. Senior dogs should consume fewer calories due to decreased activity and reduced daily energy needs. This is very important because obesity increases the risk of serious diseases, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and musculoskeletal disorders in older dogs.

Pet foods, specifically for seniors, are now available with fewer calories, limited phosphorous, more protein, balanced fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to meet the specific nutritional needs of senior pets. These foods have optimum amounts of nutrition, and can help in the progression of common diseases like kidney disease.