Taking care of old pets

As our pets get older they need a little extra care and attention.

Here at Paragon we run clinics where you can bring your older pet for a health check and we encourage clients to come at least once or twice a year. We will look at weight, nutrition, mobility, teeth, body condition and any lumps and bumps and run tests including on blood and urine.

We class an average sized breed of dog like a Labrador as old from the age of seven or eight, and from five for giant breeds which have a shorter life span. We class cats as old when they reach nine.

Health checks allow us to pick up issues before they become serious and we can make sure your oldie is not in any discomfort or pain which is reducing their enjoyment of life.

Some conditions do not show themselves until they have become quite advanced. An example is kidney disease which is common in older dogs and especially cats. By the time symptoms of kidney disease become apparent 75 per cent of damage has already been done. During a health check we will run blood tests which will show what’s happening and allow us to start managing it.

We will assess how the animal is eating and drinking. Pets may become less active as they age, and their metabolism slows especially if they are neutered. But it is important that they don’t put on weight especially if they are developing arthritis. 

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces pressure on joints and organs like the heart. If we identify arthritis we can begin to slow down its progress and manage pain with options such as laser therapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture or an exercise plan and medication if necessary.

Just as importantly we need to check your pet is not becoming underweight which can result from kidney disease or hyper-thyroidism (an over-active thyroid).

We can advise on joint supplements and senior diets which are designed especially to help oldies maintain correct weight and nutrition.

Simple tips like raising the food bowl to take the strain off the neck and shoulders can make a difference. We can help with lots of ideas once we know where your pet is experiencing difficulty.

We also need to keep an eye on any lumps to make sure they are not malignant and need to be removed. 

I always enjoy our oldies clinics. Older pets have lots of character and it is rewarding to see them happier and healthier as a result of a check-up.