Primary Care

Geriatric Medicine

Senior Pets Have Special Needs

Senior pets need extra special care, and as your veterinarian in Nashville, we are prepared to offer the care they deserve. Mature cats and dogs are wonderful companions, and we want them to live as happy and healthy for as many years as possible.

When is My Pet Considered Geriatric?

Pets age much more quickly than humans. Most veterinarians will refer to a dog as a senior when the animal is about seven years old and a cat at senior at the age of ten. Environmental factors may also affect the rate at which your pet ages.

Larger dog breeds typically age faster than smaller ones. While popular belief is dog's age 7 human years with every year of life, the more realistic number is closer to 15. Pets might often be treated for geriatric conditions after the age of four, but larger dogs will live 8-10 years and smaller dogs will live 11-13 years.

Indoor and outdoor cats also age differently after the age of two. Cats also age about 15 human years in their first year of life. Outdoor cats usually live around 7-9 years and indoor cats live closer to the age of 12-14 human years.

What Health Concerns to Aging Pets Face?

Senior pets are similar to older humans in that it is difficult to predict exactly how quickly the aging process will occur. Some pets seem to age very quickly, while others remain active and spry well into their late years.

Many pets experience age-related problems in their golden years, including:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • Arthritis
  • Cognitive dysfunction (senility)
  • Dental disease

The likelihood of developing one of these diseases increases as your pet ages. Regardless of when your pet actually becomes a senior, you can do a number of things to keep your animal companion healthy and comfortable in his golden years. Senior pet through your veterinarian in Nashville is a great place to start.

We recommend twice-yearly visits for our senior patients, which include comprehensive evaluations and routine laboratory work that can detect and identify problems commonly seen in older pets. Lab work may include a complete blood count, a thyroid test, urinalysis, a fecal exam to detect parasites, and a chemistry panel that checks for diabetes, anemia, kidney and liver disease, among other conditions. In some cases, we recommend X-rays, an ECG test that evaluates your pet's heart rhythm, glaucoma testing or blood pressure testing.

Participation in our senior pet wellness program is important to your pet's health, so we provide the package at a significant cost reduction in comparison to the price of performing each test individually.

We create a senior wellness plan specifically for your older pet based on how he or she is aging. We will explore your pet's diet, especially in relation to your pet's age-related conditions, such as kidney disease, heart disease or arthritis. Our recommendations will always reflect your pet's needs, as well as your budget.

Senior pet care should also include regular dental checkups, gentle exercise, clean water, good quality food, and protection from environmental extremes and dangers of every kind. If you have an older pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian in Nashville to learn more about the benefits of senior pet care.