As our pets age, they continue to hold a very special place in our hearts. Senior pets require additional care to help them carry on long and fulfilling lives. It is important to be aware of the changes in our senior pets’ health and to provide them the care they deserve. Here are some ways to help care for your senior pet:
Regular Health Check-Ups
It is recommended that all pets receive annual physical exams to ensure that your pet is in good health. As our pets age, it is even more important that they receive regular health care. As with people, dogs experience a number of health changes as they age. Preventative care is key to keeping your senior pet happy and healthy. It is recommended that your senior pet receive a health examination every 6 months. During each exam, your veterinarian can monitor health and recommend changes to help keep your senior pet comfortable.
At Centreville Animal Hospital, we are pleased to provide the Senior Wellness Bloodwork Panel. This panel is a wonderful aide in keeping track of your senior pet’s health. This invaluable panel measures many important body systems, including organ values, red and white blood cells, and includes an urinalysis. All of these components can tell a lot about your pet’s health. If the levels are abnormal, it can be an indicator of cancers or diseases. If such diseases are detected early, medications or dietary changes can be made to help restore health.
Senior pets are susceptible to discomfort changes such as arthritis. Sometimes your senior pet may seem stiff while getting up or moving around. This is certainly uncomfortable and can easily be managed by administering pain medication at home. A simple, daily dose can greatly impact your pet’s comfort. At Centreville Animal Hospital, we perform a pain assessment during your pet’s physical examination. By determining your pet’s level of pain, your doctor can provide recommendations for keeping your pet comfortable.
Keeping Comfortable with Rehabilitation
With aging joints and limbs, your senior pet could greatly benefit from rehabilitation exercises. After a consultation with your veterinarian, she can customize a plan that will allow you to perform exercises during rehabilitation appointments and at home. Keeping your senior pet active is very important as it will help maintain muscle mass and more comfortable movements. Acupuncture is a method of rehabilitation that involves applying very small needles to certain points of the body. This provide relief for a wide range of conditions, including relieving discomfort. Acupuncture is a painless, natural method that has been very effective for both pets and humans.
Recognizing Nutritional Needs
Your pet’s nutritional needs are important to help sustain health. What your pet consumes can greatly impact his overall health. By referring to the Senior Wellness Bloodwork Panel results, modifying and supplementing your senior pet’s diet can greatly impact the necessary vitamins and minerals your pet may be lacking as he ages. There are several prescription diets that are designed to help treat certain diseases and others for general senior care.
By recognizing changes in your pet’s health as he ages, these preventative and treatment methods will greatly impact your senior pet’s health and comfort. As pet owners, we want nothing but the best for our furry companions, and Centreville Animal Hospital is committed to providing you with options that will offer a better quality of life.
He was abandoned on the side of a busy road, without food, water, shelter or the ability to walk.
Life was looking bleak for a dog named French Fry until kind-hearted volunteers from Centreville Animal Hospital
and the Fairfax County Animal Shelter made it their mission to get him up, rolling and into a ‘forever home.’
If you have never considered rehabilitation and physical therapy for your dog, you may want to reconsider. These treatments can mean the difference between a healthy life and one filled with discomfort and pain, and may prevent you from having to make difficult decisions about how to care for a pet that is not mobile enough to live a normal life.
Many of our physical therapy patients show signs of pain and discomfort, and no longer have the muscle mass required to hold them up. This generally occurs due to an underlying issue such as an old injury, ligament tear, hip dysplasia, or other medical condition that predisposes them to cartilage wear and tear.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation treatment has been shown to provide a wide range of canine patients with the following benefits:
- Improving mobility (especially in senior dogs)
- Improving flexibility
- Reducing pain
- Decreasing need for medication
- Providing greater strength and stability
- Keeping athletic and sporting dogs active
- Enabling better athletic performance
- Encouraging faster recovery for post-surgical patients
In a future blog post we will talk about what it takes to become certified as an animal physical therapist.
Watch this video to learn more about how our physical therapy can benefit your dog, whatever its size or age.
MSN News: Physical Rehab Keeps Pets Moving
PetMD: Physical Therapy for Pets
Healthy Pets: Could This Therapy Improve Your Dog’s Mobility?
DMV News Magazine: Physical Rehabilitation: How I Transitioned from Human to Canine Patients