November is Senior Pet awareness month
2 lessons regarding seniors that I learned recently that I would like to share with you:
- Don’t give up on a 90 year old
Let me explain. Last week I saw 2 very similar cases both involving elderly large breed dogs. The 14 year old and the 15 year old dogs both had problems that could only be resolved by placing the dogs under general anaesthesia. The nature of the problems were so severe that if not addressed immediately, the dogs would have to be euthanized for humane reasons. Think about it: These dogs were both in their 90’s!!. The owners had to make difficult decisions knowing that their pets realistically only have 1 or 2 more years remaining in their life. They worried that the risk of anaesthesia was far too great to even attempt the surgery. They were also concerned about their pets quality of life after the surgery. These are all valid concerns that must be communicated and considered.
10 years ago when I was fresh out of vet school I usually talked people out of placing senior pets under anesthesia but my views on this matter are entirely different now. I no longer act like an insurance adjuster, writing off a senior pet like an old car. Experience has shown me that if pre-surgical blood work tells me the pet’s organs are functioning fine and the patient is monitored carefully, odds are the patient will do just fine. Both of these dogs did marvellously during and after surgery and if you were to ask the owners if they made the right decision, they would all grin from ear to ear and say absolutely. Old age is not a disease! Just because a pet is old doesn’t mean we cant do anything about their medical conditions.
2. Consider your pet a senior even if they are not. Its good for their health!
I had the unfortunate experience of having my own blood taken this week. There is nothing I fear more than being poked with a needle. I swear I nearly fainted; but I did it because I believe its in my best interest. It is well recognised in our society that early detection of disease is important and so we have our blood screened in our early 40s. The same holds true for our pets. A dog or cat that reaches the age of 8 should be considered a senior pet. They are risk for , kidney, heart and liver disease. They cant be overweight or they are at risk for arthritis, and diabetes
We do not have to wait until we are extremely ill or painful before we go to the doctor. Prevention and early detection allow our pets ( and ourselves) to live happier and longer lives.
So in the month of November we encourage our senior pets to be examined, to be screened and to have their owners educated on how to keep them healthy.Call the clinic to find out about our special pricing for your senior wellness exam and bloodwork.