Geriatric Medicine

Senior Canine Wellness - Greater than 6 years of Age


As Your Pet Grows Older…Preparing for New Life Stages
Congratulations ! You have provided your pet with a healthy lifestyle and in return you and your family have enjoyed their companionship and affection. The healthy diets, exercise and regular medical care has paid off, just as it might for other members of your family.

However, how we manage our pets as they age changes. Our pets, just like their human companions have different nutritional, activity and medical requirements as they get older. When your dog approaches 6-7 years, it is time to  consider modifying their care both at home and at the veterinary hospital. This is the reason that this years annual physical examination takes on new importance for you and your pet.
Please be sure that before you visit you take a few minutes to jot down any observations you have made regarding your pets activity, behavior in the house, appetite and general body condition that you have noticed may have changed over the past 12 months. Also be sure you know the name of your pets food, how much they are fed daily and you bring any medications or vitamins that you might be giving your pet.

Here is an example of some of the things that will be considered during you and your pets visit:
  • Weight gain or loss - nutritional requirements of the older pet change and new or modified diets and feeding schedules may be discussed. Weight loss or weight gain could also be early indicators of illness. Appetite changes should also be discussed.
  • Lamenesses or changes in energy level - periodic limping, not jumping as much, refusing to climb stairs and excessive sleeping may all be signs of arthritis, spinal disease or other joint and bone issues.
  • Changes in hair coat and skin condition - Matting of the hair, dry or oily skin, hair loss or skin infections may all be early signs of generalized illness.
  • New  or changing lumps or bumps - be sure you show your veterinarian each new bump you have noticed on your pet.
  • Bad breath, drooling or difficulty chewing- dental disease and oral cancer can be difficult to appreciate. However, it can also be a major contributor to renal failure, heart disease and other chronic and debilitating illnesses.
  • Behavior changes - changes in behavior may indicate that your pet is in pain.

During your visit we will assist in crafting a plan for you and your pet to be sure that they remain mobile and active members of the family, some recommendations maybe:
  • Annual or bi-annual blood testing to monitor major organ function, remand white blood cell count or hormonal levels like thyroid.
  • Radiographs. Thoracic radiographs are not only used to monitor for heart disease, but pulmonary (lung) disease and even to check for the spread (metastasis) of cancer. Additional radiographs may be necessary to look for the reason for a recent lameness or to check abdominal organs for changes in size and shape.
We will help you with a plan to manage your pets changing nutritional needs as well as provide different options for managing your pets changing medical needs.
 
The continued health and activity of your senior pet depends on us working together to identify issues when they are minor and prevent them from escalating. Little interventions like managing arthritic pain, treating dental disease or modifying their diet can make huge improvements in your pet’s energy and health.

Our doctors will review a plan with you. Checking blood panels, urine and chest radiographs will help us be sure your pet is remaining healthy and will allow us to identify any developing problems so we might intervene early.

Please bring to your appointment:
  • Any records from visits to other veterinary hospitals.
  • A list of any questions or concerns you may have.
  • A recent fecal sample.
  • The name of the food your pet is eating and how much they eat daily.
  • Please bring the names and dosages of any medications or supplements you give your pet.
Here’s what to expect:
  • Annual examinations usually take at least 30 minutes.
  • Your pet will be weighed and have their pulse, temperature and respiratory rate recorded by a technician.
  • The doctor will visit with you and discuss your pet’s history.
  • The doctor will do a complete physical examination.
  • Your doctor will assist in crafting a plan that is tailored to your pet’s health issues and life style. They will also discuss any vaccines and flea, tick and heartworm prevention that are recommended

Our Recommendations for your Older Canine Companion:

Depending on your pet’s health and the results of their annual exam, your doctor may recommend biannual (twice yearly) examinations or testing.
  1. Annual Examination
  2. Annual Bloodwork – Full Chemistry/CBC/Parasite Testing
  3. Screening Chest and Abdominal Radiographs
  4. Chest x-rays: Older pets may have disease in their chest we cannot detect on physical examination. It can brew until it reaches a critical point at which time your pet becomes ill. We would like to detect serious disease early.
  5. Abdominal x-rays: Our older pets can acquire masses in their abdomen without clinical signs. We utilize x-ray for early detection, which can allow for early intervention.
  6. Flea Protection and 12 Months of Heartgard
    • We recommend annual Heartgard with every other year heartworm testing.
  7. If you choose seasonal heartworm protection, your pet must have annual heartworm testing.
  8. We recommend Frontline for seasonal flea and tick prevention.
  9. Vaccine Protocol
  10. Rabies – Every three (3) years to comply with State Law, unless there are valid health reasons to stop.

What if we find abnormalities in...
Blood work: Your doctor will make recommendations about further work-up and treatment.

Radiographs: The next step is ultrasound to better understand the abnormalities. Once we have a clear understanding we can make appropriate recommendations.

Our doctors have worked very hard to craft health care plans, making sure that your dog remains as healthy and happy as possible throughout all of it’s life stages. We are also committed to maintaining excellence in veterinary medical and surgical care, 24/7. Our facility is prepared to assist your pet under any circumstances and at any time.
If you should have any further questions in advance of your visit, please call our office at:
(248) 684-0468
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Veterinary Care Specialists

 
 
24 H / 7 Days
 
205 Rowe Rd Milford, MI 48380
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248.684.0468
 
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