November BLOG – Keeping our senior pets healthy, longer!

Senior pet wellness – let’s keep them with us longer!

The hardest part of having pets is watching them get older, and we all hate how quickly they become seniors.  The good news is that November is senior pet month – so this is a great opportunity to talk about ways to help keep them with us as long as possible!

There are a few common illnesses that affect older pets that have some key warning signs to look out for.  An older dog or cat who is having urinary issues such as drinking more and urinating more, can be showing signs of diabetes or kidney disease!  This could also present as losing weight despite eating more, or even having urinary accidents inside (or with our feline friends, outside of the litter box).

A pet with a chronic cough or other breathing changes could have heart disease, or other lung abnormalities.  Older pets can also develop chronic lung changes, such as asthma.  Any pet who is suddenly not as active, or gets winded easily, should be checked out!

Arthritis is another super common condition in older patients.  This will present as difficulty walking or trouble on the steps.  Or for a cat, possibly not being able to jump on/off of something they could typically jump on.  Limping, or stiffness when getting up is another common sign noted.  Any changes in the way a pet moves or gets around, especially when they are older, can be a part of arthritis.

For our elderly feline patients, one of the most common conditions we see is hyperthyroidism!  This will often present as an older cat who is eating more but losing weight, vocalizing more or acting unsettled, or possibly drinking more and urinating more.

Any of these above changes are worth a trip into your veterinarian!  Some of them can be diagnosed by an examination alone, and others would require bloodwork.  But all of them can be diagnosed, and treatment started to help keep our older friends feeling good for as long as possible.  Keep an eye out for changes, and get them checked out – your pets will thank you!  Happy November!