Senior care for dogs is an integral component of the comprehensive veterinary care that Grant Animal Clinic provides. As a dog approaches his senior years, the aging process can begin to take its toll on the body and its organ systems. With early health screening, the doctors and technicians of Grant Animal Clinic strive to maintain your dog’s quality of life and extend the life of your dog as he transitions into the senior years.
Different breeds and dog sizes age differently, so the first step is to recognize when your dog is entering his senior years. Below are some basic breed and size guidelines.
Giant Breed Dogs, > 100 pounds (Great Dane, Newfoundland, Giant Schnauzer, Mastiff): 5 years
Large Breed Dogs 50-100 pounds (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle, Pitt Bull): 6 years
Small – Medium Breed Dogs 25-49 pounds (Spaniels, Beagle, Setter, Whippet): 7 years
Toy Breed Dogs up to 24 pounds (Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese Chihuahua, Papillon): 8 years
Due to extensive selective breeding which leads to a less graceful aging process, certain breeds are considered senior dogs earlier than their general size would suggest. This would include English Bulldog, Pug, and Sharpei. These breeds are considered seniors by 5 years of age.
The dog senior care visit begins just like the adult wellness visit where one of our doctors performs a comprehensive nose to tail examination of the canine patient. Stool analysis is performed in order to screen for common intestinal parasites, and all pertinent immunizations are administered. (Please see our Dog Vaccinations page for details of our vaccine schedule for dogs).
Physical examination alone provides the attending veterinarian with a strong basis of overall health assessment, which commonly leads to discovery of:
- Dental disease
- Abdominal tumors
- Skin cancer
- Any systemic disease that causes weight loss
A heart worm blood screening is also done just as it is in the adult wellness visit, however, our technicians are trained to always draw extra blood for senior aged check-ups so that a wellness blood profile may be sent out to assess the canine patient’s systemic health. Bundled with the heart worm and stool tests, our reference lab offers special discounts for general blood work that assesses the dog organ function and complete blood count.
Common diseases found on routine blood work include:
- Endocrine disease (diabetes, hypothyroidism, Cushings Disease)
- Inflammatory liver disease
- Early stage degenerative kidney disease
- Gall bladder disease
Early intervention for all of the above listed ailments before the senior patient is showing clinical signs of illness provides our doctors the best opportunity to intervene medically and nutritionally to provide the best possible outcomes.