Old Dog & Cat Health
By elderly we are referring to dogs over 8 years and cats over 10 years.
Annual vaccinations are important for elderly animals as they become more vulnerable to illness. As with younger animals the elderly pets are given their Routine vaccinations,
Kennel cough in the case of dogs, Rabies boosters on an individual basis.
As well as boosting their immunity, the annual vaccination appointment provides an opportunity for your vet to perform a full health check on your pet and to detect any early signs of illness.
This health check often leads to early detection of age-related disease such as heart failure, kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and diabetes as well as many others. Early detection is vital in managing these conditions successfully. For this reason we also strongly recommend a six-monthly Senior health assessment for dogs and cats over 8 years of age.
Worming should be performed at a minimum of every 3 months. All worm product dosages are calculated on the dog or cats weight. Bring your dog or cat in to be weighed at Brittas Vets (Free of Charge) and allow our nurses to calculate the appropriate dose for your animal. This is important as an elderly dog or cat may have gained weight due to inactivity or more likely lost weight due to muscle loss in old age. Our staff can advise you on the most suitable product for your pet.
Fleas can cause an older animal a lot of discomfort as well as potentially causing or exacerbating health problems such as anaemia. Preventative flea treatments should be applied every 1, 2 or 3 months depending on the product used. We at Brittas Vets stock Frontline and Stronghold products.
Please remember that worming and flea prevention are serious issues and that your Veterinary Surgeon and trained Veterinary staff are the best and most interested in advising you on your pet.
Senior health assessment
As we have mentioned above, elderly animals should be examined by your vet at six monthly intervals. It is much more likely for an older animal to develop a serious medical condition over the course of a year between annual vaccinations.
As dogs and cats age, it is common for them to experience the aches and pains that we ourselves expect as we get older. However, just because it is a common problem doesn’t mean that they should simply suffer through arthritis. Some of the early signs of osteoarthritis include slowing down on walks, finding it more difficult to rise out of bed, lameness and changes in temperament. Cats may be less inclined to jump onto windowsills or other favoured perches and often develop an unkempt coat along their back where they find it more difficult to groom themselves. Correct feeding, simple physiotherapy exercises, as well as a variety of medications are some of the ways in which we can help keep your pet as active and pain-free as possible.
The majority of older animals will have significant amounts of plaque and tartar on their teeth. This is often very easy to overlook at home, and left untreated will lead to gum disease, periodontal disease and eventually tooth loss, as well as being a very significant source of pain to your older pet. Using our expertise and high quality dental equipment it is possible for us to restore your pet’s Hollywood smile and prevent any unnecessary suffering and discomfort.
Older animals need good quality, easily digestible food as their digestive processes are not as robust as a younger animal. It is also vital that they are fed the correct balance of protein, vitamins and minerals (more is not necessarily better!) to maintain heart, kidney, joint and dental health. Older animals who have had a diagnosis of particular age related health problems such as kidney or heart failure benefit greatly from prescribed diets which work in conjunction with their medication. We stock the Royal Canin and Burns dog foods and we have a trained Nutritional Adviser Michelle Grimes on hand to advise you on proper diets for older pets.
Elderly pets often find it more difficult to groom themselves as they become less flexible and often less energetic with age. Matted and retained dead hair can lead to a variety of skin problems and it is important that you help keep your pet’s coat in good condition.