As our pets age, they require adjustments in their diets, lifestyle, and care. We are here to guide you as you care for your senior pet. We provide quality of life assessments, as well as tailored recommendations for their lifestyle, environment, diet, supplements, and ways to keep them pain-free. It is recommended to have your senior pet examined by your veterinarian more frequently (every six months for small breed dogs over ten years of age, large breed dogs over five years of age, and any cat over ten).
Geriatric pets are more prone to the development of some diseases, including, but not limited to:
Osteoarthritis (OA, aka arthritis)
OA is a common disorder seen in older pets, which results from the progressive loss of joint cartilage, thickening of connective tissue around the joint, and the development of bony growths within the joint that cause pain with movement. Signs of OA include decreased activity, weight gain, stiffness on rising, lameness, reluctance to use stairs or jump, loss of stamina, muscle loss, house accidents, decreased grooming behavior (seen in cats), and irritability. If you feel that your dog or cat is suffering from OA, schedule a consult with our team so that we can develop a management plan to reduce discomfort and minimize further joint damage. A multi-modal treatment option is most effective, and may include a weight reduction plan, omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatories and other pain medications, acupuncture, laser, and/or manual therapy.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)
As dogs age, they may experience degenerative brain changes similar to Alzheimer's or dementia in people. Common signs of CDS in dogs include changes in sleep patterns, increased barking or panting, increased anxiety, decreased or increased activity, unexplained vision or hearing loss, disorientation or aimless wandering, memory loss, or house soiling. A combination of diet, medications, and supplements can be helpful in improving signs, and slowing the progression of CDS. Mental stimulation, such as training, exercise, play, and puzzle toys are important for maintaining brain health. We can help you develop a personalized plan for your dog that will support their brain health for as long as possible.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in cats
The primary function of the kidneys is to conserve water, and filter out metabolic byproducts from the blood. They also have a role in controlling blood pressure, maintaining electrolyte balances, supporting red blood cell production, and conserving protein in the body. CKD is a common disease of older cats. Kidney function can decline for many reasons, including age, inflammation, infection, or cancer. Signs of CKD include increased thirst and urination, unkept haircoat, decreased appetite, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, lethargy or weakness, loss of vision, and/or bad breath or mouth ulcers. CKD is a progressive disease that can be managed if discovered in the early to mid-stages. The most important change is a prescription diet that helps the kidneys do their job more easily. At more advanced stages, the veterinarian may recommend supplemental hydration with fluids, supportive medications or supplements, and/or acupuncture. Cats with CKD need regular diagnostic testing to monitor their status.
Unfortunately, cancer is becoming increasingly common in not only humans, but our furry family members as well. Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs, and the third most common cause of death in cats. Signs that your pet may have cancer include lumps or bumps that do not go away, wounds that don't heal, limping or other signs of pain, unexplained weight loss, decreased energy or weakness, difficulty breathing, unexplained bleeding, bad odors from the mouth, ears, or anus, changes in urinary and bowl habits, such as straining or going too often, and/or the development of vomiting and diarrhea. Many of these signs are also seen with other diseases, and are not limited to cancer alone. If your pet is showing one or more of these signs, schedule an appointment to have them examined. We are able to perform diagnostics to help determine if your pet has cancer, including imaging (x-rays and ultrasound), blood tests, and cytology/biopsy. While we do not offer chemotherapy at MBVC, we will create a specific plan for your pet that may include surgery, food therapy, Chinese herbal therapy, supplements, essential oils, mushroom therapy, and/or acupuncture. Diet is one of the most important aspects of cancer prevention and treatment, and poor diet has been linked to the development of cancer in humans. A 2005 study of Scottish Terriers suggested that the risk of developing transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder was inversely associated with consumption of foods rich in glucosinolates, the compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. A clinical trial investigating an extract of the Turkey Tail mushroom has shown survival benefits for dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen.
There is no perfect moment to make this ultimate choice, but rather a subjective time period, which may be hours, days, weeks or months, when euthanasia is the appropriate decision. Our team is here to help you assess your pets quality of life, and support you during your decision. During this time period, it is up to the pet's family to make whatever decision is best for them. A pet's family knows them better than anyone - including their veterinarian. That is why we recommend monitoring your pet's quality of life (see links below) to help you determine if and when it is time. If your pet has been diagnosed with a disease, an in-depth discussion with our team is an important part of the process, as we can explain clinical signs to monitor, the nature of their condition, as well as prognosis.
Euthanasia translates to "good death." What this means is a peaceful, painless passing for your beloved family member. Although the decision is never easy, we are here to help you throughout the entire process.
We offer euthanasia services in the clinic, Monday through Friday from 8 am-5 pm. We will walk you through the entire process and ensure you and your pet feel at ease.
We now offer at-home euthanasia services to allow your final moments with your pet to be in the place where they are most comfortable.
We work with Oak Hills Memorial Pet Cemetery to honor your pet's remains. They are able to spread your pet's ashes on your behalf in their cemetery, or you may receive their ashes back.