Senior Care

The life cycle of our family pets can be divided into several phases, similar in many ways to our own stages of life. We pass from newborn through adolescence to adulthood on our way to becoming senior citizens. Unfortunately our pets pass through these life stages within a relatively condensed time period:

A general rule of thumb is that our pets age approximately seven years for each one of our years.

However, the rate at which any individual pet ages is determined by many factors including breed, size, nutrition, and lifestyle. You can find your pets approximate human-equivalent age in the chart at the bottom of this page.

Click here for current Wellness Testing Fees.

If your pet falls into one of the senior stages outlined in the table, don't worry. Just as with people, pets are enjoying longer, more active and healthier lives than ever before. The goal of senior pet care is to provide your pet with the best quality of life for as long as possible.

To help accomplish this goal, we have designed Senior Wellness Programs including physical examinations, preventative vaccination and parasite control programs, client education materials, and appropriate diagnostic tests, all focused on preventative health care. The early detection and treatment of medical problems together with the recognition and prevention of disease risk factors can result in many additional years of good quality life for your pet. Working together, we can help insure our loyal friends enjoy the longest and healthiest life possible, sharing the gift of their companionship well into their "Golden Years".

Pet Weight
  0-20# 21-50# 51-90# 90#  
Pet Age         Life Stage
1 yr 15 17 19 21 Young Adult
2 22 23 25 35  
3 29 30 31 38 Adult
4 35 36 37 40  
5 40 42 43 45  
6 44 46 48 50 Young Senior
7 48 51 53 56  
8 53 56 58 64 Senior
9 57 61 63 71  
10 62 66 68 78  
11 66 71 73 86 Super Senior
12 71 76 78 93  
13 75 81 83 101  
14 80 86 88 108  
15 84 91 93 115  
16 89 96 99    
17 89 101 104    
18 93 106      
19 98        
20 102        
21 107        
Relative Human Age

Senior Wellness Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Senior Wellness Program?

Our Senior Wellness Program consists of 4 components: 1) Regularly scheduled office visits including complete medical and behavioral history and a thorough physical exam. 2) Preventative vaccination and parasite control measures. 3) Client education materials focusing on preventative health care through the recognition of risk factors and early intervention. 4) Selected diagnostic testing for the early detection of subclinical disease.

How often does my Senior pet need to be examined?

Generally speaking, healthy Young Seniors (see age chart) can be evaluated on an annual basis, usually in conjunction with their regularly scheduled office visit for annual vaccination. Due to their increased risk for age related problems Seniors, Super Seniors, as well as other pets with chronic or existing problems should be examined on a semi-annual basis or more often if recommended.

Does my Senior pet really need vaccinations and parasite control?

The time-honored practice of annual vaccination for our family pets is now a controversial subject in veterinary medicine. As with any medical treatment, there are benefits and risks associated with vaccination. The need for specific vaccinations will vary with your pet's lifestyle and risk factors. Young, active, outdoor oriented pets will have increased exposure to certain preventable diseases compared to older stay-at- home companions. You should discuss the vaccines recommended for your pet with your veterinarian at your annual wellness visit since research into this subject is ongoing. Similarly, although fecal examinations and heartworm testing may still be recommended on an annual basis, the need for other parasite control measures (fleas, ticks and intestinal worms) will vary with your pets' lifestyle. Efforts to control these potentially debilitating parasites will be tailored to the needs of your particular pet.

What can I do at home to help insure my Senior pet's continued good health?

You can play a vital role in maintaining your pet's health by observing your pet carefully for early signs of potential health problems. During wellness visits, we will provide you with a Home Health Watch Checklist which details the signs of the most common medical problems seen in our senior pets and what can be done at home to help prevent these problems. If age related problems do occur, we can work together to educate you so you can carefully monitor your pet's condition at home and be aware of when further follow-up care may be needed.

What is the reason for recommending laboratory tests for my apparently healthy senior pet? What are you looking for?

It can be very difficult for us to detect the early sub-clinical signs of age-related disease in our pets. Many treatable or preventable diseases may have no observable signs early in their course. This is why physicians often suggest routine laboratory tests during our own physical exams.

Early diagnosis is an important key in the preventative health care of pets and is possible only through routine laboratory testing of apparently "healthy" animals.

The following is a description of the most commonly suggested diagnostic screening tests together with the most frequent abnormalities discovered:

Complete Blood Count (CBC)- Blood test to evaluate the number and type of red, white, and clotting cells. Abnormal values can be associated with bacterial or viral infection, anemias, clotting diseases, and certain types of cancers.

Chemistry Profile (Chem)-Blood test to evaluate the function of many internal organs. Abnormalities can indicate systemic disorders including diabetes, kidney or liver disease, and electrolyte abnormalities.

Urinalysis (U/A)-Urine samples provide valuable information about kidney function as well as screening for infections, tumors, or bladder stones.

Cystocentesis (Cysto)- the direct removal of urine from the bladder with a needle. The safest, cleanest, easiest method of urine sampling, especially in cats.

Thyroid Level (T4)- Blood test to measure the amount of circulating thyroid hormone. Deficiency is common in dogs resulting in lethargy, weight gain, and dermatological problems. Increased levels are common in senior cats resulting in weight loss, increased appetite and thirst, and heart problems.

Radiographs/Ultrasound- Imaging studies allow visualization of many internal organs including the bladder, liver, spleen, kidney, pancreas and heart. These are especially useful in diagnosis of cardiac problems as well as abdominal growths and tumors.