CARE OF OLDER PETS
Age comes to all of us - including our pets too. As our animals get older, certain aspects of lifestyle will have to change to a certain extent and often even the most healthy of animals may begin to have problems later in life. As your animal gets older, it is sensible to make extra sure that he or she is in the best possible condition and that everything is being done to ensure they can continue to live as normal a life as possible.
"Old age" certainly doesn't suddenly arrive one day - and the phrase of "you are only as old as you feel" applies very much to animals too. The life-span of animals can vary tremendously. With dogs, small breeds tend to live longer than large breeds and cats often live longer than dogs. Small mammals such as Rats and Gerbils often only live for a few years at a time, where as at the opposite end of the spectrum - a tortoise can often live as long (or longer) than human beings.
As a result of this, we can only really say that old age occurs in the latter stages of an animals life.
Again, this is very subjective. Often it is the little things that you may notice - not as much energy as previously had, going a bit grey, getting a bit stiff etc. If you notice anything that is not in the pet's normal character, it is important to have him or her checked out first of all to make sure that there is nothing more serious going on. This is something we like to bring up at the annual vaccination and check-over.
As your pet gets older, it important for you to carry out routine checks at home. Although this should be done all the way through the pet's life, it is extra especially important during those "retirement" years. Routine checks should include the following:
A good examination of your pet is only half the story. You also need to look at the broad picture as well. Here are some good tips:
A lot of age-related changes are nothing to worry about - they are part of normal life. However illness and disease does become more common the older the animal gets. If you are concerned you should bring the animal to see a vet or a nurse - if nothing else, your mind may be put at rest.
We always include a full examination including a full history of any changes with the animal, when the animal comes in for yearly vaccination and check-up. Think of it a bit like an "M.O.T"!
For routine health care of the elder patient, weight checks, dental checks and general advice, the nurse clinics are often a good way get a lot of useful information and support. Our nurse clinics and weight clinics are free!
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