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Geriatric Care for Pets

The veterinarians at Badger Veterinary Hospital & Equine Services are able to provide comprehensive care and long-term health maintenance and support to cats and dogs as they grow older, helping them feel more comfortable in their old age.

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Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats

In order to help your senior pet continue to keep their quality of life as they age, your companion will need routine preventive care and early diagnosis all throughout their golden years. 

Diligent care can help extend your pet's life and good health as they age, so it's important that they attend regularly scheduled wellness exams, even if they seem healthy. 

Our veterinarians are here to assist geriatric pets from across Southern Wisconsin to achieve their optimal health by identifying and providing treatment for emerging health issues as early as possible and providing proactive treatments while any issues are still easily managed.

Geriatric Care for Pets, Southern Wisconsin

Typical Health Problems

Because of improvements in dietary options and better veterinary care in recent years, our cats and dogs are now living far longer than they ever have before. 

While this is certainly something to be celebrated, pet owners and veterinarians now face more age-related conditions than they did in the past as well.

Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:

  • Joint or bone disorders

    Geriatric Dogs

    As your dog reaches their golden years, there are a number of joint or bone disorders that can result in pain and discomfort. Some of the most common joint and bone disorders in geriatric pets that our veterinarians see include arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.

    Addressing these issues early is essential for keeping your dog comfortable as they continue to age. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs ranges from simply reducing levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain.

    Geriatric Cats

    While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.

    Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in range of motion the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats include weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners. 

  • Cancer

    It is believed that approximately 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. That's why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.

    Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups even when they seem healthy allows your veterinarian to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages. 

  • Heart Disease

    Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.

    Senior dogs commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.

    While heart disease is seen less in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition causes the walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function efficiently.  

  • Blindness and hearing loss

    Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.

    When these conditions are age-related they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice. 

  • Liver disease

    In senior cats, liver disease is common and may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.

    Liver disease in dogs can cause a number of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.

    If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is essential.

  • Diabetes

    Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years of age.

    Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.

    Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.  

  • Kidney disease

    As pets age, their kidneys tend to lose their function. In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.

    While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.  

  • Urinary tract disease

    Our Badger Veterinary Hospital & Equine Services vets often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of a bigger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.

    If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.

Veterinary Care for Seniors

Our vets will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask about their home life in detail and perform any tests that may be required to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition. 

Based on our findings, we will recommend a treatment plan for your pet that can potentially include medications, activities and dietary changes that may help to improve your senior pet's comfort and health.

Routine Wellness Exams

Preventive care is essential to helping your senior pet live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. It also gives our veterinarians the opportunity to detect diseases early. 

The early detection of diseases will help to preserve your pet's physical health and wellbeing as well as catch health issues as they emerge and before they have the chance to develop into long-term problems.

With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health. 

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Badger Veterinary Hospital & Equine Services is accepting new patients. Our team is passionate about the health of animals from across Southern Wisconsin. Contact our closest location to book your first appointment today!

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