Senior Care

What is senior care?

Senior care includes a complete physical exam, bloodwork, and blood pressure check twice a year in order to detect a problem early. Instituting treatment as early as possible can delay the progression of disease and lead to a better quality of life for your pet.

When is my pet considered a senior pet?

*From the AAFP Senior Care GuidelinesLife Stage and Aging in Cats
Life Stage Age of Cat Human Equivalent
Kitten
  • 0-1 Months
  • 2-3 Months
  • 4 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 0-1 Years
  • 2-4 Years
  • 6-8 Years
  • 10 Years
Junior
  • 7 Months
  • 12 Months
  • 18 Months
  • 2 Years
  • 12 Years
  • 15 Years
  • 21 Years
  • 24 Years
Prime
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 28
  • 32
  • 36
  • 40
Mature
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 44
  • 48
  • 52
  • 56
Senior
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 60
  • 64
  • 68
  • 72
Geriatric
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 76
  • 80
  • 84
  • 88
  • 92
  • 96
  • 100
  • 104
  • 108
  • 112
  • 116
Aging in Dogs (by Size)
Human Equivalent Under 20 lbs 20-50 lbs 50-90 lbs 90+ lbs
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 15
  • 23
  • 28
  • 32
  • 36
  • 40
  • 44
  • 48
  • 52
  • 56
  • 60
  • 64
  • 68
  • 72
  • 76
  • 80
  • 84
  • 88
  • 92
  • 96
  • 15
  • 24
  • 29
  • 34
  • 38
  • 42
  • 47
  • 51
  • 56
  • 60
  • 65
  • 69
  • 74
  • 78
  • 83
  • 87
  • 92
  • 96
  • 101
  • 105
  • 14
  • 22
  • 29
  • 34
  • 40
  • 45
  • 50
  • 55
  • 61
  • 66
  • 72
  • 77
  • 82
  • 88
  • 93
  • 99
  • 104
  • 109
  • 115
  • 120
  • 12
  • 20
  • 28
  • 35
  • 42
  • 49
  • 56
  • 64
  • 71
  • 78
  • 86
  • 93
  • 101
  • 108
  • 115
  • 123

What are the most common diseases in older cats?

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Dental disease
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Behavioral changes
  • Certain cancers

What are the most common diseases in older dogs?

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dental disease
  • Hypertension
  • Skin and other tumors
  • Behavioral changes, including incontinence
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Heart valve disease
  • Dry eye and cataracts in certain breeds

How can I tell if my pet has arthritis?

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments of older pets. Signs of pain include:
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Trouble walking or limping which may improve after walking around
  • Playing less
  • Jumping less for cats
  • Trouble climbing stairs or avoiding the stairs

What can I do to help my pet's arthritis?

We recommend a multifaceted approach to managing the pain associated with arthritis, rather than relying solely on anti-inflammatory drugs which can have adverse effects for your pet. A multifaceted approach takes into account:

  • Nutrition and supplements
  • Body weight
  • Exercise
  • Anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture and chinese herbs
  • K-laser therapy

Certain nutrients have been proven to protect joint cartilage and decrease inflammation in animals with joint disease. Weight reduction in overweight animals is extremely important to decrease stress on joints. Regular walks with your dog are beneficial as well.

Treatments like massage, which you can learn how to do at home, acupuncture, and K-laser therapy are also very effective for relieving pain, decreasing inflammation, and benefiting your pet's circulation.

The Healing Touch by Michael W. Fox is a great book for learning how to massage your pet at home.  The benefits of massage for our pets include:

  • Bonding with your pet
  • Increasing circulation, which can help decrease pain and inflammation and help the healing of injuries
  • Aiding lymphatic drainage
  • Minimizing the stress associated with grooming, nail trims, and physical exams at the vet clinic.  When your pet learns that touch is associated with a positive feeling at home, he or she will be less anxious when handled away from home.
  • Helping pet parents notice possible problems with their pet early.  For example, if your pet seems painful when you massage around the ears or tail, it could indicate an ear infection or anal gland impaction/infection.  In these instances, you should bring your pet in for an exam to investigate why there is pain.  Additionally, you might detect lumps or swellings under the skin that should be investigated.