Your Senior Pet Will Live A Longer, Healthier Life with Good Wellness Care

As your pet ages, normal changes take place and diseases may follow that can often affect their overall health, well-being and comfort. You may notice these changes: a little less willing to leap into the car, a greying muzzle, slower to retrieve the ball or chase a squirrel, sleeping more or a little difficulty getting up from a nap. Many senior pet health problems, when detected early and treated properly, can be prevented from progressing into more serious, more costly and sometimes life threatening illnesses. Our goal is for you and your family pet to enjoy the longest, happiest, healthiest life together.

We have special bi-annual wellness exams for senior pets. These senior wellness exams allow us to spend more time with your senior pet so that we may monitor your senior pet’s health and detect, diagnose, and treat medical conditions early. We encourage you, the pet parent, to take an active role in combatting ailments associated with the aging process by participating in their health care through close observations at home. We encourage you to discuss your at-home observations with us during your senior pet’s wellness exam.

Our bi-annual comprehensive senior wellness exams include:

  • A comprehensive physical exam
  • Dental exam and professional cleanings as needed
  • Senior diagnostic testing that may include a senior pet blood profile analysis (blood count and blood chemistry panel), urine and fecal analysis, x-rays, blood and eye pressure testing.
  • Vaccinations
  • Parasite testing and prevention
  • Heartworm testing and prevention
  • Nutrition and diet counseling for senior pets
  • Behavioral evaluation and counseling

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your senior pet, we recommend you schedule an appointment to discuss them with one of our veterinarians:

  • Weight loss
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Excess urination
  • Excess drinking
  • Reduced exercise, reluctance to move, run, jump, etc.
  • Perception of pain when your pet moves or is handled
  • Any vomiting , diarrhea or lack of bowel movements
  • New lumps or bumps
  • Change in pet’s energy level, awareness and/or family interaction
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Occasional cough or periods of rapid or difficult breathing

If your senior pet is a new client, please bring your pet's previous medical records to your first appointment. This includes vaccination dates and any previous lab work. You can either bring a paper copy or ask your previous veterinarian's office, rescue organization or breeder to fax or email them to us.

Senior Pet Care FAQs - Everything you need to know about Senior Pet Care

Dr. William Armbruster
Green Prairie Animal Hospitals

How does getting older impact the health of my dog?

As they get older, things change physically, like arthritis, joint problems, and musculoskeletal problems. As they age, we also see more issues with kidney and liver disease, things of that nature. We like to stay on top of that with regular exams twice a year and lab work once to twice a year, depending on what's going on, whether it's your dog or your cat. We want to stay ahead of that before it becomes a big deal. We often catch things before it becomes a big deal, and we can address them earlier.

How can wellness care extend the life and vitality of my dog?

Again, catching those problems ahead of time is hugely important. Often, these pets have issues nobody knows anything about because they're so early on, so mild at that stage of the game, that we don't know they're there until we perform some lab work. Once we perform that lab work, we can address that problem and get the pet on a better plane to address it before it becomes a big issue.

What are the most common problems in senior dogs?

One of the most common problems is arthritis and joint-related issues. It ends up affecting almost all our pets at some point in time, just like it does in humans. That's consistent whether it's a cat or a dog. So again, that's very common. Some newer treatments out for cats and dogs are extremely helpful and look very promising.

What are some signs and symptoms that my dog may be slowing down?

That's a big thing. We think that they're just slowing down because they're older, and that's often not the case. They're slowing down physically because something may be wrong. It could be arthritis, something like a urinary tract infection, a kidney, liver, or thyroid issue, or something of that nature. We just think that the pet's getting older, and that's oftentimes not the case.

What kinds of preventative care can help extend the life and health of my cat or dog?

Lab work, including blood work, urinalysis, and fecal analysis. Then, we will piggyback on that. If we find anything, we'll do more advanced testing like X-rays, ultrasounds, or CT imaging, which can go a long way to detect those problems and figure out what those problems are. Then we can address them from there. Those are the things we like to do.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (309) 247-3231, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media,