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It’s true that our pets age much faster than we do. Beginning at 7 to 10 years of age, dogs and cats begin to qualify as a “senior.”  As animals age, a progressive decline in organ function, immunity, and physical and mental ability occurs.  Health problems in pets can progress five to seven times faster than human diseases. Early detection and intervention is the key to maintaining the health of your senior pet.

img_RCS_OldCatCommonly, our geriatric pets suffer from chronic, debilitating diseases such as multiple joint arthritis, back pain, neurological deficits, loss of eyesight and hearing, and muscle wasting. Arthritis is the most common ailment seen in geriatric pets. It is not uncommon for this population of pets to have several of these complications. The goal of geriatric veterinary medicine is to maintain the quality of life, control pain, and slow the progression of disease.  If you suspect that your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact your veterinarian. There are many options available to improve the lives of geriatric pets. 

Ways to improve quality of life for pets with arthritis

  1. Maintain proper weight through a balanced diet and exercise.

  2. Feed a diet with added joint supplements.  This may help decrease discomfort and increase joint mobility.

  3. Work with your veterinarian to find a drug treatment protocol to relieve pain.  Some drug options include: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, or Omega fatty acids.

  4. Orthopedic beds and stair steps can help make your arthritic pet’s life more comfortable.

  5. Herbal therapy

  6. Laser therapy 

  7. Acupuncture

It is important to remember: DO NOT give human pain medications to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian as some human products can be fatal in pets.