In the Canine and Feline world they age fast and in most breeds we say “senior at seven”. These three little things can make a major impact to improve and lengthen those senior years!
- Wellness Screens: Knowledge is Power! You and I are asked by our family doctor to come once a year for an exam and for annual lab work. Lab work can evaluate your organ and blood functions and detect early changes – things that can not be determined by exams. Sometimes these changes can be detected early enough to intervene and resolve an issue or slow down a disease process. It is the SAME for our beloved pets! Lab work is simple – a sample of blood and urine is submitted to the laboratory for analysis. Then your veterinarian will review the results, compare to the current physical exam and, if labs have been performed before, compare to the last results. When 1 of 3 cats will have kidney failure – why not look for a kidney change before they have symptoms – medications and diet can really slow that diseases progression. Wellness Lab Screen…it is a win win!
- Examinations: Yes we recommend at minimum once a year examinations – TWICE a year is gold standard since animals tend to age twice as fast as humans. Make sure you come to the appointment with a list of questions/concerns you may have and really join in on the exam! Has your pet begun to tire out on walks or not jump on the couch anymore…that is not just because they are old and tired. Age is NOT a disease. It could be that they are painful or have a heart condition that is causing them to have exercise intolerance. These can be picked up on exams. Examinations should be performed in a systematic and detailed manner. There are lymph nodes that should be palpated and many joints to be rotated and the abdomen should be palpated and masses or bumps should be tested to know if they are cancerous and should be removed. A Good Physical Exam…it is a win win!
- Nutrition: You are what you eat – same goes for Max and Champ! When you pet turns seven, speak with your veterinarian about what they are eating. Review your pets life style – indoors or outdoors or both, do they go to the groomers or on trips, do they visit the neighbors, do they live with other animals or by themselves, do they prefer canned or dry kibble? Then discuss with your veterinarian genetics for your pet’s breed. If it is determined that it is time to change to a Senior diet, get with your veterinarian about brand and type. Senior pet foods are typically lower in sodium and protein and higher in fiber.
It does seem that animals are living longer these days and they are because of being more proactive with their health care. Remember age is not a disease and often times the senior years are some of the best years!