Aging Gracefully: The Importance of Senior Pet Wellness Exams

White dog looking up and licking his noseSenior pet wellness is improving, thanks to significant advances in veterinary care and technology, along with a greater understanding of the aging process, pets are living longer, healthier lives than ever before.

A pet is generally considered “senior” at around 7 years old, and with many pets now living well into their teens, pet owners will spend significant time on the health and wellness needs of their aging pets.

Along with lifestyle modifications and extra TLC, regular senior pet wellness exams are an integral component of a better quality of life for your best pal.

Older and Wiser

As our pets age, their immune systems weaken and their bodies gradually become less able to cope with physical or environmental stress. This puts them at risk for a variety of age-related health issues, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Dental disease
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Diabetes

Be on the lookout for symptoms related to hearing and vision loss, arthritis/decreased mobility, lumps, and bumps under the skin, or behavior changes.

Senior Pet Wellness Exams

Wellness exams are the foundation of pet health, and older pets present no exception. Veterinarians and other animal care experts agree that senior pets should receive a wellness exam every 6 months, as opposed to the recommended annual exam for younger pets.

Besides catching an illness or medical condition early, thus increasing your pet’s chances of recovery, the semi-annual wellness exam gives you the chance to ask questions about your pet. It also provides ample opportunity for you and your veterinarian to discuss the following areas of health and wellness:

  • Pain management – Many older pets experience some level of pain as mobility decreases (typically due to arthritis or other degenerative joint condition). Your veterinarian can help you tailor a pain management plan for your pet that may include any combination of medication, supplementation, gentle exercise, physical therapy, and environmental modifications.
  • Diet and nutrition – Older pets have changing nutritional needs, and many benefit from diets that are lower in calories and higher in protein and fiber. For some pets, supplements and specialty diets are helpful in slowing down the progression of certain age-related conditions.
  • Dental health – Regardless of age, pets benefit from regular dental examinations and professional cleanings, as well as good at-home dental care.
  • Behavioral concerns – Many pet owners struggle with changes in their senior pet’s behavior or demeanor. Your pet’s semi-annual wellness exam is the perfect opportunity for you to voice any concerns you may have in this area, allowing your veterinarian to examine possible causes (pain, cognitive impairment, etc.).

Give your friends at Maywood Veterinary Clinic a call to schedule your senior pet wellness exam today!