Our Jacksonville veterinarians understand that your pet's needs change as they age, and we are equipped to provide excellent geriatric care for senior pets.

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Geriatric Care for Senior Dogs & Cats

To help your pet uphold their best quality of life as they get older, senior pets require regular preventive care and prompt diagnosis throughout their senior years.

Persistent care can extend help to extend the life of your pet so it is vitally important that they get checked out by a veterinarian even when they seem healthy.

Our vets are ready to help your geriatric pets achieve the best health they've ever known by identifying and treating developing health issues, and providing aggressive treatment while their health issues are still easy to manage.

Geriatric Care for Pets, Jacksonville

Typical Health Problems

Thanks to recent improvements in pet's dietary options and more adequate veterinary care, Jacksonville pets are living longer than ever.

While this news is exactly what pet owners want to hear, it also means that owners and vets are dealing with more age-related disorders than ever before.

Senior pets are typically prone to the following conditions:

  • Joint or bone disorders

    Geriatric Dogs

    As your dog moves into their senior years, there are many forms of bone and joint disorders that can cause them pain and soreness. Some of the more common joint and bone disorders seen in geriatric pets include hip dysplasia, arthritis, osteochondrosis, reduction in spinal flexibility, and growth plate disorders.

    Taking care of these issues early is necessary for keeping your dog comfortable as they age. Treatment for joint and bone issues in senior dogs ranges from simply reducing levels of exercise, to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery to remove diseased tissue, stabilize joints or reduce pain. Our Jacksonville hospitals also offer cold laser therapy and acupuncture to supplement other pain management methods.

    Geriatric Cats

    While osteoarthritis is typically a condition we think of in older dogs, this painful condition can also affect your senior cat's joints.

    Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats are more subtle than those in dogs. While cats can experience a decrease in range of motion the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in geriatric cats include weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter pan, and inability to jump on and off objects. Lameness typically seen in dogs is not commonly reported by cat owners. 

  • Cancer

    It is believed that approximately 50% of all pets in the US die from cancers. That's why it's important for your senior pet to visit the vet for routine wellness exams as they age.

    Bringing your geriatric pet in for routine checkups even when they seem healthy allows your veterinarian to examine them for early signs of cancer and other diseases which respond better to treatment when caught in their earliest stages. 

  • Heart Disease

    Like people, heart disease can be a problem for geriatric pets.

    Senior dogs commonly suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn't pumping blood efficiently, causing fluid to back up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.

    While heart disease is seen less in cats than in dogs, Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common. This condition causes the walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s ability to function efficiently.  

  • Blindness and hearing loss

    Degeneration in the eyes and ears can lead to varying degrees of deafness and blindness in older pets, although this is more common in dogs than in cats.

    When these conditions are age-related they may come on slowly, allowing geriatric pets to adjust their behavior and making it difficult for pet owners to notice. 

  • Liver disease

    In senior cats, liver disease is common and may be the result of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of liver disease in cats include loss of appetite, jaundice, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.

    Liver disease in dogs can cause a number of serious symptoms including seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, abdominal fluid buildup, and weight loss.

    If your geriatric dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms of liver disease, veterinary care is essential.

  • Diabetes

    Although dogs and cats can develop diabetes at any age, most dogs are diagnosed at approximately 7-10 years of age and the majority of cats diagnosed with diabetes are over 6 years of age.

    Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include excessive thirst, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.

    Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in both cats and dogs.  

  • Kidney disease

    As pets age, their kidneys tend to lose their function. In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by medications used to treat other common conditions seen in geriatric pets.

    While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of diet and medications.  

  • Urinary tract disease

    Our Jacksonville vets often see geriatric cats and dogs with urinary tract conditions and incontinence issues. Elderly pets can be prone to accidents as the muscles controlling the bladder weaken, but it's important to note that incontinence could be a sign of a bigger health issue such as a urinary tract infection or dementia.

    If your senior pet experiences incontinence issues it's important to take your geriatric dog or cat to the vet for a thorough examination.

Veterinary Care for Seniors

Our vets will thoroughly examine your senior pet, ask about their home life in detail and perform any tests that may be required to receive additional insight into his or her general physical health and condition. 

Based on the findings, we'll recommend a treatment plan that can potentially include medications, activities, and dietary changes that may help improve your senior pet's health, well-being, and comfort. 

Routine Wellness Exams

Preventive care is very important when it comes to keeping senior pets living happy and healthy lives. It also gives our veterinarians the opportunity to detect diseases early. 

Early detection of disease will help preserve your pet's physical health and catch emerging health issues before they develop into long-term problems.

With regular physical examinations, your pet will have the best chance at quality long-term health. 

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End of Life Pet Care 

Our veterinary staff will do everything we can to keep your pet comfortable and healthy throughout its senior years, as we understand the emotional difficulties it is to part with your beloved pet. If the day should come when you need to make a difficult decision, we provide a peaceful bereavement room for our existing clients.

If you prefer a more intimate setting, we work with Dr. Rett and Dr. Sarah from Lap of Love to offer veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia services. 

We also offer cremation services and a wide range of remembrance packages through Paw Prints Crematory.

To inquire about our end of life services, we invite you to contact us directly and one of our team members will assist you. 

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