Geriatric Pet Care in Myrtle Beach, SC

Geriatric Pet Care in Myrtle Beach, SC

Pets now live longer, more fulfilling lives thanks to advances in veterinary care. Due to this increased longevity, these pets are reaching ages where they are considered ‘seniors,’ and their needs are changing. Small and medium-sized dogs are considered seniors when they hit 8-9 years of age, while large breeds of dogs have shorter lifespans and can be considered seniors at age 6. For felines, they are considered seniors at ages 9-10. 

Doctor Laura Black, DVM, and her team of veterinary professionals recognize the need for compassionate and quality geriatric pet care. At Coastal Veterinary Care, we place full emphasis on minimizing and preventing the effects of the age-related conditions your pets can encounter in their golden years. Thanks to extensive research on how pet owners and veterinarians can best handle the problems facing older pets, we can provide for their particular needs in a way that will allow them to be happier and more comfortable for many, many years.

Overview of Geriatric Pet Care

Your pets can face some of the same problems people face when growing older, making a focus on geriatric veterinary care with your veterinarian a priority. Our team of veterinarians spends time focusing on preventative care and pain management with comprehensive wellness exams. Older pets require more frequent visits to the vet, sometimes dietary changes, and alterations to their home environment to accommodate their needs.

When Do Senior Pets Need Geriatric Veterinary Care?

Because of specific behavior patterns that animals have evolved to exhibit, it can sometimes be difficult to tell when your pet is in pain or discomfort. For example, some pets are prone to hide their discomfort or act as if nothing is wrong to discourage predators. But, you can observe some signs early on:

    • Decreased Appetite: Your pet is eating less often, displaying picky eating behaviors, or isn’t finishing the food placed in their dish.
    • Increased Thirst: There is a marked increase in water consumption with no increase in physical activity.
    • Increased Urination: Your pet urinates more often.
    • Poor Coat: Hair becomes thinner and more brittle, or your pet sheds far more than usual.
    • Vomiting: Your pet has consistent trouble keeping liquids or solids down, often vomiting soon after eating or drinking.
    • Changes In Behavior: Your pet becomes more irritable, displays more aggression when touched or approached, hides from you or others, shows less desire to play and be active, or displays any other behaviors that are far different from the normal
    • Unexplained weight loss

Because every pet is different, these signs can come suddenly or gradually. Regardless, if you notice any of these changes in your pet, you must speak with your veterinarian about geriatric pet care sooner rather than later.

Common Health Problems In Geriatric Pets

Every pet is unique in how they age, just like humans. So, your pets may experience different issues when they get older. Some of the more common problems senior pets face include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Arthritis
Caring for Senior Cats and Dogs

Thankfully, there are ways to ensure that your pet’s golden years are spent in comfort. Talk to one of our veterinarians about how to care for your older pet, and be prepared to make significant and necessary lifestyle changes.

Older pets need increased care, so it’s vital to bring them to the vet for exams at least two times a year. Early detection of age-related issues helps us deal with them sooner and possibly prevent them from bringing about worse complications. In addition, our comprehensive wellness exams allow us to give your pet the best chance at a healthy life.

There may be dietary changes recommended pending on your pet’s condition. Weight control is a big part of geriatric pet care, as dogs tend to put on more weight, while cats tend to lose weight when they get older.

Your pet’s vaccinations may also need to change as they age due to changes in immune system response. Be sure to talk to us about a vaccination program for your geriatric pet.

As with older humans, maintaining mobility in your pets is essential. Caring for senior cats and dogs includes helping them through appropriate exercise, supplements, etc to help stave off joint health problems and give your pet more energy. Watch for any signs of pain or discomfort, and talk to your vet about prescribing medications to help. Do not use pain medications intended for humans, as these may be fatal to your pet.

Finally, dental health is vital to your pet’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, your pet could develop dental problems that can potentially exacerbate or be exacerbated by other health issues. Therefore, it would be best if you had a veterinarian check out your pet’s teeth and gums at least once a year to detect any early signs of dental problems and keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Geriatric Pet Services At Coastal Veterinary Care

We know that you want your pet to live a long, healthy, and happy life. That’s why we focus not just on caring for your pet but also on providing you with the education to empower you to provide your own outstanding care for your pet. Dr. Laura Black and her veterinary team strive to offer compassionate, honest, and reliable service to your pet in their time of need. We are AAHA-Accredited, Fear-Free Certified, and our veterinarians are committed to continuing education and routinely attending programs organized by veterinary specialists.

If you have an older pet in need of care in the Myrtle Beach area, contact us to book an appointment.