When is a pet considered a senior? This varies both by species and breed. Some pets may be senior at 7 while others may not be senior until 10 years of age. Most cats are now living well beyond 14, some even approaching 20 and older. A large breed dog such as a great dane may be considered a senior much earlier than a small breed dog such as a toy poodle.
Although senior pets may develop age-related problems, good care allows them to live happy, healthy and active lives in their senior years.
While it’s easy to spot the outward signs of aging, such as a graying hair coat and slower pace. It’s important to remember a pet’s organ systems are also changing. As with humans, more serious issues can arise with age. These include:
- Weight gain or obesity
- Heart, kidney, thyroid, and liver disease
- Dental problems with periodontal disease
- Pain and arthritis
The senior pet workup gathers medical information beyond the scope of the regular physical exam. It can help to detect problems before they become advanced or life threatening. It may include the following tests in order to establish baseline values as well as hopefully identify any disorders that may be developing:
- Blood work