We all know that pets are living longer thanks to better veterinary care, but do your clients realize that, just like people, aging cats and dogs need special care? According to Purdue veterinarians, improvements in veterinary care, diagnostics, and earlier intervention make it possible for clients to enjoy their pets longer, but the key to that enjoyment is helping pets enjoy their later years to the fullest.
Dogs and cats are prone to debilitating ailments as they age, such as kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, dental disease, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction. It’s important that you encourage clients to visit for regular exams—this may mean more frequent exams than when the pet was younger. Depending on the pet’s health risks or symptoms, these exams may include blood work, blood pressure checks, radiographs, or electrocardiograms.
Educate clients about these early warning signs that a senior pet may be having problems. Clients should call you right away if they notice:
> Increased thirst and urination
> Loss of bladder control or noncompliance with house training.
> Repeated vomiting
> Bad breath, drooling, or changes in appetite
> Excessive panting or exercise intolerance
> Lumps or changes in areas of skin color
> Change in appetite such as eating more or less than usual
> Changes in behavior such as disorientation or excessive whining
> Unusual bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation
> Gaining or losing weight
Catching problems early is often the best way to prevent them from becoming more serious. It’s up to you to utilize your medical expertise—and client education skills—to do just that.