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Your aging family pet. A blog by Dr. Amanda Wolff

"In March my personal dog turned 7 years old. As much as I wanted to ignore it, she is now considered a senior pet. I will admit that it took me a month to come to terms that the importance and maintenance of her care is changing. Now that senior wellness hits home, I have a ​renewed appreciation for health care in senior pets.​"​

Starting from the head, oral hygiene often leads the exam room conversation. You may notice your pet's bad breath, which is a sign of periodontal disease. ​Dental cleanings become necessary to prevent plaque buildup, painful gum​ ​lines and subsequent damage to kidneys, heart muscle and liver from oral bacteria traveling to those organs.

The second most common discussion of senior pet wellness involves ​managing your pet's pain from osteoarthritis. Just like us humans, as pets live longer​,​ we see an increase in arthritic joints and stiff ​​gaits. Non-slip mats on the floor and exam room tables ​provide​​ a comfortable exam for your pets. It is important to educate ​pet owners and recommend joint supplements, anti-inflammatory medication, and newer pain modalities such as cold laser therapy and acupuncture that have had amazing and proven results! ​Many owners of senior pets often think that the symptoms we've mentioned here are just signs of old age. We want these owners to know that your senior pet can live a longer and healthier quality of life by understanding the importance of senior care, oral health and pain management.

​Annual blood​ work is the looking glass into your pets internal health. The senior blood work profile helps detect ​liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, and some otherwise undetected cancers.​ These diseases and illnesses are better managed if caught early. ​An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

​R​ecognizing that your pet is getting older can be scary​. Bi-annual visits with your veterinarian, comprehensive physical exams and good dental care are just some of the ways you can help ensure a great quality of life and longevity for your aging furry family members."

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