Growing older is a fact of life that we all deal with. Most of us would like to grow old gracefully. Proper diet, vitamins, and regular medical check-ups are a basic part of our lives. But what about our pets? Did you know that dogs at six years of age are considered forty years old in human terms, and at nine years, their age is equivalent to a 52 year old human? Statistically, we also know that large breeds of dogs live an average of nine to ten years, where small breeds and cats live an average of 12 to 13 years.
Geriatric medicine is as important to your pet as it is to people. By the time your pet reaches six years, the aging process is already beginning, but may not be noticeable to you. To help insure a long and healthy life, we recommend the following steps:
1. Have your pet neutered, if this is not already done. Around twenty five percent of unspayed dogs develop breast tumors by the age of ten. In addition, as they go through the “change of life”, uterine infections can occur which can be extremely life threatening. Therefore, older unspayed females must be checked regularly for breast tumors and unusual vaginal discharges. Intact males can develop prostatic problems and anal and testicular tumors. Owners of breeding animals should strongly consider spaying or neutering those animals who have finished their reproductive careers.
2. Have routine medical check-ups done by your veterinarian.
3. Feed a geriatric diet especially formulated for the needs of the older pet.
4. Keep those teeth free from tartar! Regular dental cleaning is a must! One of the leading causes of kidney disease is infection spreading throughout the body from chronic periodontal disease.
5. Proper care of the skin and coat with routine grooming.
6. A geriatric health evaluation is important as your pet approaches eight to ten years of age. It is a universally accepted rule among leading veterinary authorities that regular examinations of the geriatric patient are very wise and strongly recommended. These examinations may discover a chronic disease or aging process, some of which may be controlled by medication or diet. The best news, of course, is to have results that are absolutely normal. These normal findings are valuable to use as reference points for later times. The purpose of preventive medicine is to detect any problems early on. It is universally recognized in human and veterinary medicine as the best way to maximize the chance of a long and healthy life.
We strive to add months and even years to the companion who has given so much affection to you for such a long time.
With this in mind, if you or any family member has any questions about your pet’s well being, our staff will be eager and happy to help you. Remember, early detection and prevention are the keys to longevity.