QUINCY, Mass., June 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Quincy veterinarian is raising awareness about the special challenges animals face as they grow older, from heightened risks of cancer or organ failure to age-related obesity. "Older pets, like older humans, need an extra degree of wellness care, so once they reach 'senior citizen' status we recommend that owners bring them in for evaluation more frequently," says Dr. Meg Connelly of Willard Veterinary Hospital. "We can detect age-related illnesses, treat common complaints such as osteoarthritis, and give owners valuable advice regarding diet and activity levels to help their pets avoid obesity."
Dr. Connelly points out that while pets enter the stage commonly referred to as "geriatric" between ages 8 and 12, many dogs commonly live past age 14 thanks to modern veterinary and home care, with cats living enjoying even longer life spans. "This means that a pet may have an old age that extends for several years," she says, "and during that period a lot of age-related health issues can present themselves."
The Quincy veterinarian notes that pet cancer rates climb with age, as does the risk of heart, kidney, or other organ diseases -- many of which are highly treatable if diagnosed at an early stage. "Many of the symptoms of these disorders can be obvious if you know what to look for," says Dr. Connelly, who advises owners to watch for weight, activity or behavioral changes: "If your pet does not respond to gestures or is bumping into objects, for instance, he might have cataracts or glaucoma." She adds that an inability or unwillingness to run or jump may be due to arthritis or other forms of joint deterioration, while weight loss can mean diabetes, cancer or a thyroid problem. "Pet owners who notice such changes should have their pets evaluated right away so our animal clinic can provide answers," says Dr. Connelly.
Dental problems may also become more of an issue as pets age, according to the Quincy veterinarian, with periodontal disease and tooth damage growing increasingly prevalent. Obesity in older pets is another disorder frequently addressed by the animal clinic.
"An animal's metabolism can slow down by up to 30 percent in old age, so if you keep feeding your pet his normal diet he will increase his health risk, especially if joint problems make it difficult for him to get exercise," warns Dr. Connelly. The animal clinic urges owners to schedule twice-yearly wellness evaluations for their aging pets. "We can perform lab tests to catch problems, prescribe pet meds as needed, and recommend specific lifestyle changes to help these older pets remain as healthy and happy as possible," says the veterinarian.
In addition to geriatric care, Willard Veterinary Hospital provides general pet wellness, vaccinations, surgery, radiology and other services for Quincy pets.
CONTACT: Willard Veterinary Clinic 888-667-5235Source:Willard Veterinary Clinic