Special Care for Special Friends
Old Age is Not a Disease
Contrary to what some people think – old age is not a disease. Just imagine if we looked at our own ageing process the same way. Would be stop traveling when we retire? Would we accept living with pain, decreased mobility or dental disease, decline surgery because we’re too old to have an anaesthetic or stop visiting our Doctor for checkups because we’re seniors?
Of course we wouldn’t. We all want access to the best health care possible no matter how old we are so why wouldn’t we want the same for our pets?
It frustrates us to hear the frequent feedback from clients who have been discouraged by their regular vets or friends from providing quality care for elderly pets simply due to their age.
A great deal of this attitude stems from a lack of information on modern approaches to senior pet care which includes a whole host of therapies and treatment options specifically for the purpose keeping your pet active, happy and around for longer.
Many of our own Senior Pet patients come through referrals because of this fact alone.
Planning Your Pet’s Senior Care
While pets – like humans age at different rates we generally consider them as Seniors around 7 years of age which is the ideal time to start looking at their health requirements a little differently.
Things we need to start looking out for are the subtle signs of the development of common “Old Age” diseases to include:
- Liver and kidney disease
- Dental disease
- Senility and incontinence ……. just like Humans.
While some of these diseases are unavoidable as pets age, there are many things we can do to minimise their impact on your pet’s quality of life. However we can only do this by starting a preventative program early.
Sadly – many owners of ageing pets overlook the subtle signs of illness (and what their pet is trying to tell them by their changes in behaviour) – until they become seriously ill.
The good news is – you can avoid this common trap.
It Starts with the 7 Year Health Check
As pets age (just like us), the body tends to deteriorate more rapidly so the sooner we can detect an illness, the better chance we have of managing the condition in the long term.
As a starting point to preventative Senior Pet Care we recommend a full Health Assessment along with a Senior Pet Blood Profile.
The external examination gives us the following information:
- The presence and extent of dental disease – this can lead to serious infection and cause damage to internal organs
- Heart function – detection of abnormalities
- Lung function – detection of unusual sounds indicative of lung disease
- The presence of lumps and other abnormal growths
- Skin and coat condition – Poor coat quality, dry or inflamed skin can indicate the presence of other disease
- Joint and gait assessment – provides information about the status if your pets bones and joints
- Pain assessment – Detecting areas of pain which cause discomfort and reduces your pet’s mobility
The purpose of of Senior Pet Blood & Urine Profile is to assess the health of other internal organs which can’t be determined through a physical examination. These include:
- Kidney Health – Did you know that by the time your pet shows symptoms of kidney disease, over 75% of kidney function is already destroyed? Given that pets need at least 50% of their kidneys to be working well to remain healthy, it’s well worth detecting this disease sooner rather than later while we can still do something about it..
- Diabetes: This is another common old age disease which can also be detected via blood testing.
- Senior Pet Blood tests also reveal the presence of anaemia, infection, thyroid imbalance and cell structure abnormalities – all which can lead to disease if left untreated.
Mobility Issues and Osteoarthritis:
Most people put immobility down to old age. Sure they do slow down as they get older however if they’re not moving around it’s most likely because they’re in pain from diseases such as osteoarthritis – a common disease in older pets.
This pain can often be well managed using a combination of Rehabilitation Therapies, Acupuncture, Laser Therapy, Stem Cell Technologies, Arthritis Injections and natural supplements to increase joint mobility.
Signs Your Pet Needs A Health Check
- Changes in appetite / eating patterns
- Behavioural changes
- Difficulty rising, climbing stairs or walking
- Coughing, breathing difficulties particularly after exercising
- Bad breath, drooling, bleeding gums
- Excessive drinking or urination
- Diarrhoea / vomiting
Grey Muzzle Senior Pet Program
Our Grey Muzzle Senior Pet Program is specifically designed to meet the needs of ageing pets. It begins with an initial full Health Assessment to include the relevant blood and urine tests which gives us an accurate snapshot of your pet’s current health status.
From here we can tailor an ongoing treatment and preventative program to help keep your pet in the best possible health for longer. Discounts are applied to all visits, diagnostics and medications throughout the program provided we see your pet for follow up checks every 6 months. (This equates to around 3 years in your pet’s lifetime – between visits.)
You can find out more by downloading our Grey Muzzle – Senior Pet Program Brochure
Preparing for your Senior Pet Health Exam
When you call to schedule your Senior pet health consultation, we will ask you to bring along a sample of your pet’s urine for testing. This is not as hard as you may think. Simply follow the guidelines below to help you.
How to collect a urine sample
- Clean and dry a litter tray. Leave empty or place a small amount of non absorbing material in the bottom. e.g. polystyrene beads or buy some Catrine pearl litter. (Can be washed and reused)
- Leave out for the cat to use
- If you have multiple cats or your cat is not used to using a litter tray, lock the cat and the tray in a small room (e.g. the bathroom) until they have urinated)
- Pour the urine from the tray into a clean glass jar and bring into the clinic as soon as possible for testing
- Collect the urine in another clean and dry container and transfer it to the sample jar
- Ideally we need a midstream sample taken in the morning
- If your dog is inside overnight take it out for a walk and wee first thing in the morning. If you take them out on a lead you remain close enough to ctach them in the act
- Male dogs usually urinate on upright things such as trees, posts or car tyres – take him to these to encourage urination
- Female dogs squat to urinate so you will need a reasonable flat container to urinate into. A clean frying pan is ideal
Please bring the sample into the clinic as soon as possible after collection as urine deteriorates quite rapidly making accurate testing difficult.
Need a sample container? Ask us for a Urine Collection kit.