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Aging Pet Concerns And Awareness: What To Look For And Ask About During Check-Ups For Geriatric Pets

Geriatric check-ups are especially important and should be scheduled regularly to keep older pets healthy and their spirits youthful.

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Geriatric check-ups are especially important and should be scheduled regularly to keep older pets healthy and their spirits youthful. Because of their age, geriatric pets can be exposed to higher medical risks which are preventable like glaucoma and obesity.

When is a pet considered geriatric? The old classic "one human year equals seven dog years" is an easy way to calculate and relate to your dog's age, but isn't the most accurate. Large breed dogs (i.e. Great Danes) are considered a senior at 6 or 7 years of age, whereas small breeds (i.e. toy poodle) aren't considered a senior until their teen years. At ten, felines have aged to the human equivalent of 56 - or late middle age.

Some pet owners are reluctant to bring older pets in for check-ups for fear of finding something wrong, but ignoring the needs of geriatric pets can actually pose serious health situations. Pet owners can take simple actions to significantly reduce these risks by bringing their pet in for annual check-ups and primary diagnostic testing.

Regular geriatric blood work is necessary to identify conditions and uncover diseases like diabetes in its earliest stages, even if a pet is not showing symptoms. Early detection not only lengthens your pet's life, but also can prevent more severe problems that may require more expensive treatment later. A physical exam is also a crucial part of any check-up for geriatric pets, as it can uncover heart murmurs, tumors, etc. that can then be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

More modern diagnostic techniques and treatments are also helping pets with even the most severe conditions like heart disease, cancer, etc. making them capable of living longer lives with a greater quality.

Older dogs and cats can often deal with painful stiffness and arthritis; owners can ask their veterinarian about supplements that may assist pets with these conditions.

Be sure to ask your veterinarian about the best way to care for your geriatric pet.