Dogs and cats age 5 to 7 times faster than humans and are considered to be elderly or geriatric from the age of about 7 years (on average about 50 human years of age).
Although old age is not a disease per se, it comes with a lot of problems. Pets don’t die from old age; if they are still disease-free at the time, they pass away from some form of organ pathology, likely to be from dysfunction. Many old dogs will also be euthanised by their owners because their quality of life becomes unbearable and/or unmanageable.
The most common age-related problems that veterinarians see in elderly pets
- Periodontal disease
- Organ failure (i.e. heart and/or kidney failure)
- Osteoarthritis (commonly referred to arthritis in humans)
- Blindness & deafness
Like many people will say, getting old is “not for sissies”. It is the same with our pets. Apart from the age-related problems, veterinarians are also faced with the fact that old age can also hide early diseases. Because pets cannot talk, we don’t always know whether or not there is something wrong.
From a financial point of view, we know that the treatment of ill pets is far more expensive than preventing illnesses. Because of this, many geriatric pets are put to sleep when sudden intensive veterinary treatment becomes too expensive.
Because of this, it is essential to have your geriatric dog or cat checked out twice a year by your family veterinarian. We are here to help. This should be done during the recommended annual vaccination consultation and then every six months. Depending on the possible problems or concerns, the attending veterinarian will recommend treatment, management or possible tests to obtain more information on what might be going wrong. Regular geriatric screening might also detect preventable problems.
- Affordable blood tests
- Joint & back radiography
- Geriatric dental scale procedures
- Premium & Super Premium pet nutritional advice
Screening blood tests and radiography are not only selected to pick up current conditions, but also early disease. The outcome of these tests will help us to give you the best possible advice to aid in a longer, happier, better quality life for your pet. In older pets, joint radiography and the geriatric dental scale procedure should be done in combination with the screening blood tests to give us a better understanding of how your pet will react to tranquilisation and anaesthesia, in addition to picking up problems. The necessity and pricing will be discussed by the attending veterinarian during the consultation.
Pets are solely at the mercy of their owners. Along with the joy of pet ownership comes the responsibility of pet ownership. Your pet depends on you to make the decisions that will ultimately determine how long and what quality life he or she will have.