By Dr Kathryn Miller BVSc CertAVP(SAM) MRCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Medicine
But not all of these will be very obvious – animals are masters of disguising their symptoms! It’s a good idea to have regular check-ups with your geriatric pet as age related complications can be easily managed when found early enough, greatly improving the quality of a pet’s ‘golden years’.
What is a geriatric pet? This varies a little with species/breed. Generally, a cat could be considered geriatric when they reach the age of 12. A small dog would be considered geriatric at around 10, whereas a larger dog would reach this mile stone at around 8.
What is a geriatric health check? Your vet will take a detailed history to see if you may have picked up on any changes at home that could indicate a possible problem – for example; a cat that has stopped grooming or jumping may well be getting arthritis, a male dog that is having difficulty urinating may have an enlarged prostate, a cat that is losing weight could well be developing a thyroid or kidney problem. They will then perform a detailed clinical exam, checking your pet’s vital signs and taking particular care to examine the body systems that can be most affected by age.
But can anything be done to help? Absolutely! Pain relief/anti-inflammatory medication can massively improve an arthritic animal’s quality of life. Blood pressure medication can help control high blood pressure, which is very important as, if left uncontrolled, it can lead to blindness, heart disease and kidney failure. An overactive thyroid can be controlled, allowing a cat to regain its weight and reducing the metabolic stress on its internal organs. And not every condition requires tablets, some conditions such as kidney disease do best with a simple change of diet.
Have you heard about our Pet Health Club? It is designed to help members spread and reduce the cost of veterinary care. We even have a specific ‘Geriatric Plan’ for our older patients – this includes a 6 monthly check up with a vet, and an annual blood test, blood pressure check and urine sample.
If you would any further details on how to give your pet an ‘geriatric MOT’ then please do not hesitate to call on 01494 459095 and our reception team would be happy to help.