Giving the Gift of Health
to Our Senior Pet Companions
As our special animal friends reach middle age and their senior years, it is natural to have some worries and concerns about the physical changes and health challenges they may be facing. We all want our pets to have long and healthy lives, and the best way to achieve this goal is through preventive health care.
How can I tell if my pet is getting old?
Qualifying for “senior” status varies in canine and feline companions. Smaller breeds of dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds, so they may reach their geriatric stage around nine to 10 years of age. Cats tend to live longer still and generally reach their golden years around 10 years of age. Some giant breeds of dogs may classify for senior status as young as five years old. Your veterinarian can help you determine your pet’s life stage base on his or her breed and size.
Image © Healthy Pet Fall 2011 The Truth About Older Cats and Dogs.
Just like humans, animals may begin to show signs of physical decline as the age. You may notice that sight, hearing, taste, and smell have started to diminish. There is a greater risk of age-related illnesses and diseases as dogs and cats reach their senior years. Our critter companions are very good at hiding discomfort and pain so it is important to be aware of subtle signs or gradual changes that may indicate an underlying problem. Some things to look for include stiffness, vision changes, decreased appetite, increased thirst, changes in bladder or bowel habits, decreased activity, and weight loss.
Preventive Care for the Senior Stage of Life
Because pets’ life spans are so short relative to that of their human owners, health conditions tend to develop much more rapidly, threatening the health of the animal if unobserved and untreated. While an annual veterinary visit may be adequate for younger pets, Odyssey Veterinary Care believes that all pets 10 years and older gain significant health benefits from wellness exams twice a year.
Early detection of illness and disease is critical to living a long and healthy life, so your veterinarian may recommend diagnostics, such as lab, blood, and imaging tests. These tests are used to generate important diagnostic values that your veterinarian will fully interpret and discuss the results with you. You might also find the HealthyPet article When to Say Yes to a Diagnostic Test helpful.
Odyssey Veterinary Care also offers a senior wellness package to ensure we are doing everything possible to maintain the health of your pet as he or she ages.
Our comprehensive senior packages consist of:
- Senior wellness exam
- Complete blood count
- Comprehensive chemistry panel
- Thyroid (T4) check
- Urine analysis
- Urine culture screening
- Fecal evaluation (dogs)
- Tick disease exposure screening (dogs)
- Blood pressure (cats)
Odyssey goes above and beyond my expectations, and truly cares about my dog. We will always come back to Odyssey and highly recommend it to anyone who asks!
Dr. Bruss is great—he is very kind and caring. He called us several times to explain our options and didn’t pressure us to make a particular decision.
My dog sees Dr. Stokes for his vet care and she is the best vet ever. She understands my dog’s unique needs and I highly recommend them!
No matter which vet we've seen, they’ve always been loving and compassionate whether we were there just for yearly vaccinations or for something a bit more serious.
I am in love with all of the staff at this facility. If I could, I would want to be treated there, but sadly, they only take the four legged types...
Wouldn’t go anywhere else! I feel surrounded by people that love animals as much as I do. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Services are very reasonably priced and we've never felt like we had any unnecessary procedures or products pushed on us. we really feel that we can trust Dr. Bruss and Odyssey Veterinary Care with our cats’ health.
— Onion Girl
Dr. stokes has seen our family through kitten to senior cat, puppy and loss of dog, new puppy and everything in the middle! We think the care our animals get here is top notch!
Great people, great care! You've all made such a difference in my life and Abby's too. Thanks Odyssey Staff!
When they prescribed my dog eye drops for an infection, they gave me the instructions and then called me within a 48 hour period to ask me how the medication was going and if I had any questions.
They are very friendly and very thorough. The dog loves them, and she’s shy, so that’s a good thing. We have always had a lot of confidence in what they have told us.
They happily accommodate our special request to see our big dogs in their fenced back yard, since our 100-pound German Shepherd gets nervous in a small examination room.
We bring our dog to Odyssey Vet Clinic and will continue to do so as long as we live in this area. They are the best vets we’ve ever had.
They are very friendly, and they always remind you of when your appointments are. They are the top veterinary hospital in Madison. They are very good.