As our pets start to get older, it’s important to do everything we can to make sure they stay healthy. As in humans, more frequent checkups are recommended as pets age. At MVVC, we consider six years to be “middle age” for pets and begin to recommend our six-month senior exam, to help detect sub-clinical diseases that might otherwise go undetected. Dr. Smith discusses some important functions to monitor and maintain in senior pets to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
I finally caught on. I just realized that I was asked to comment on “senior pet health” because I’m the most senior staff member, ha! That fact does not make me an expert, but I am ex-young. As a bona-fide “elder”, I can attest to the fact that stuff wears out and stuff gets rusty. The same applies to your pets as they age. But there are things we can do to help our pets age gracefully. Here are four important M’s of aging that are easy to “fix” or improve:
•MEMORY: Yep, it gets harder to remember things as we get older. However, brain function has the potential for significant improvement with specific supplements and/or diets enhanced with antioxidants. Purina Pro-Plan Bright Minds is a food we recommend that contains brain supporting nutrients and antioxidants that promote cognitive health.
•MOBILITY: Lameness or even just a subtle decrease in range of motion is a response to pain. Osteoarthritis and inflammation are not uncommon in older dogs. An appropriate use or combination of anti-inflammatories, analgesics, or joint supplements might be in order. Talk to your veterinarian for a tailored plan that fits your dog’s needs.
•METABOLISM: Major organ function is simple to track and measure. Our six-month senior exams are designed to emphasize diagnostic testing that can detect problems that might go unnoticed. Results can lead to an effective strategy to improve function and decrease the workload on those organs.
•MISBEHAVING Lumps-and-Bumps: It’s common to see these pop up as your pet ages. Anything new or changing can be easily tested. Some things are better off in a specimen jar instead of on your pet.
Age is not a disease, but age = time = accumulation of wear-and-tear. Baby boomers like me can be in a state of denial about our own aging infirmities; your pet is just good at hiding them. We can help find the flaws early enough to make a difference.
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Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.
Put a plan together for your pet.