Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

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Our Senior Pets

By Jess Nielson, Nurse

As our pets grow older, it is important to start monitoring their health on a more regular basis.

At around the age of eight our pets are classified as "seniors". From then on it is extremely beneficial to have a yearly blood and urine sample taken and have these tested to see how your pet’s organs are functioning, and establish if there is anything we can do medically to help prolong a happy and healthy life and prevent or slow the onset of disease. If we get the base line blood levels now it gives us a measuring stick as they continue to age or become unwell. These tests provide us with valuable information on things that may be going on which we can’t necessarily see. It is important we are proactive to prevent disease as our pets age.

Important changes you need to be aware of as your pet ages are:

Weight It is important that the weight your pet is carrying is not putting pressure on his or her joints. We have fantastic food products now that really do help to reduce weight in our pets. Arthritis is very common disease as our pets age, and carrying too much weight at any stage of life will speed up the onset of this disease. Our pets do slow down as they age, but there are many great products we can use to help keep them comfortable for as long as we can.

Lumps & Bumps We start to notice lumps, bumps and warts as our pets are older. Some are just fatty lumps, called lipomas, and unless they are causing problems to the animal they don’t need to be surgically removed. But other lumps can be nasty and can spread quickly. If you notice any lumps, make sure the vet has a chance to look at them. The vet will diagnose what type of lump or cancer it is and the action that is needed. Please remember that the larger the lump gets the more risks there are involved to remove it. So catching and removing (if needed) these lumps as early as possible gives your pet the best chance of a happy, healthy life.

Dental disease Dental disease is caused by a build-up of dental plaque on the teeth. This process produces an inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) that causes the tissue to recede exposing the tooth and the tooth root. With an exposed tooth root, bacteria can seed into the pulp cavity and root producing an abscess. Chronically infected teeth can cause severe pain, changes in eating habits, bad breath, loss of teeth, loss of body condition, and the bacteria within the plaque can serve as a source of chronic infectious material that can affect other organs of the body such as the liver and kidney.

Many disease have similar signs that you as an owner may notice. Is your pet showing any of the following symptoms?

1) Excessive drinking and/or urinating

2) Loss of appetite

3) Dehydration, sunken eyes, dry gums

4) Lake of interest in playing, exercising.

5) Weight loss

6) Shortness of breath

7) Vomiting and/or diarrhoea

8) Poor gum colour

If so, we recommend you bring your pet to see us as soon as possible .Our aim is to keep your pet as happy and as comfortable throughout their senior years as we can. We need to be proactive to prevent and/ or slow the onset of disease. Give us a call today to discuss further.

Give us a call to book your cat or dog for a check to make help make sure they are as healthy as possible.

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