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Twice Yearly Exams Recommended for Senior Pets

See You in September…and February

                Our pets age at a much faster rate than we do.  At 1-2 years of age, they’re teenagers.  At 5-7, they’re mature adults in their 40s or 50s.  And by 7-10, most cats and dogs have reached their golden years and are considered seniors.  We also have advanced seniors, who, at 13 plus years are the equivalent age of a person 80-100 years old!  Our pets age the same amount as seven human years (give or take) every twelve months.

                With advancing age come typical health problems:  arthritis, diseases such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, cancer and other medical woes.  Our goal at Patton Veterinary Hospital is to keep your pets as healthy and happy as possible for as long as possible.  This is why the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and other veterinary associations like the American Animal Hospital Association (of which Patton is a member) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommend well exams for ALL pets at least once a year and twice yearly visits for pets in the senior category or those with any type of chronic disease (kidney disease, heart disease, etc.). 

                Can you imagine if an elderly person, especially one with health problems only saw their doctor once every seven years?  Nearly 20% of dogs and a whopping 45% of cats do not visit their vets annually for wellness checkups.  We know pets, especially cats, are not always easy to bring to the veterinary office; however, because they age more rapidly in a shorter amount of time, diseases can progress quickly.  Animals also instinctually hide injuries and illnesses, so you may not realize your pet is ill until he or she is very sick.  Some diseases such as diabetes mellitus in cats or kidney disease may be slowed or even reversed if caught early.  Once these conditions progress, they are more difficult and more costly to treat. 

                Twice yearly visits aim to catch early changes such as weight loss or mobility issues which may indicate early signs of disease or may impact your pet’s quality of life.  They also help us stay on track with preventive care such as vaccinations and administering monthly heartworm flea and tick preventatives.  Most parasites are 100% preventable as long as your pet is taking his or her preventive medications regularly.  We have some clients who never miss a dose, but others…not so much.  We get it.  Life gets in the way sometimes.  But if your pet visits us every six months, we can review his records and make sure he is on track with any medications, preventatives, vaccinations and blood tests he needs.  This may also allow needed services to be split between the two visits which may be less overwhelming for both your pet and your pocketbook! 

                Of course, your pet may need to visit us more than twice a year if she gets sick or if she needs additional monitoring of a chronic disease.  But bringing your senior pet or any pet with a chronic illness to see your veterinarian twice a year will go a long way toward making sure your dog or cat stays as healthy as possible and that he or she continues to live a long, happy life and that’s something we all want!

                This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital serving Red Lion, York and the surrounding communities. 


More information on senior canine wellness.

More information on senior feline wellness.