As our furry friends start to transition through different life stages, there are different health concerns that may arise at each one. By the time your pet has reached age seven, they have transitioned into their senior stage. Although they may be getting older, with special considerations and preventions, you can help your geriatric pet live happy and healthy, even in their golden years.
Arthritis is a big concern for humans as we get older, and this is no different for our cats or dogs. Although genetics can play a factor as some breeds can be more predisposed, arthritis affects a large majority of all senior animals. A few signs to be aware of that can indicate your companion may have arthritis can be; reduced mobility or activity, difficulty sitting or standing, behaviour changes, difficulty climbing stairs or getting over objects, sleeping more and weight gain.
So what do we do?
The first step is regular vet check-ups. Bringing your senior pet in for bi-annual exams allows a better chance to catch any health concerns early, and develop a treatment plan that is best for you and your animal. This can mean your pet may need some medication to help reduce inflammation of their joints and help with any discomfort, or they may need exercises to help promote mobility. A diet change can also be a necessary step in helping your cat or dog keep moving. Animals that are at a normal body condition score (healthy weight) are putting less stress on their joints than animals that are overweight. Making sure your companion is eating the right quantity and quality of food can help to prevent joint related issues from arising.
This is something your veterinary clinic can help you with, as there are many prescription diets available to help not only your geriatric pet but also the health conditions that can come along with them. As well as medications and diets, there are also many supplements available such as green lip mussel and glucosamine; natural anti-inflammatory agents that help with arthritis symptoms.
Each pet will transition into their senior years differently and it is important to be aware of how you can help maintain their quality of life. If you have a doubt about your senior pet’s health, contact your veterinary clinic, and your vet can inform you of your pet’s specific needs, and how we can help them stay young at heart.
Written by Harbour Cities Veterinary Hospital