Senior Dog Care
Older dogs tend to be susceptible to many diseases. Thanks to our advancing veterinary technology, many of these diseases are easily and successfully treated if they are found early enough. Old age is not a disease. Dogs develop problems as they age but these problems are identifiable and treatable with proper veterinary care. Our goal for your senior dog is not life at all costs, but rather, the highest quality of life possible. Dogs are considered to be “seniors” at age 7, or age 5 for giant breeds.
Preventive Care Examination
Routine healthy pet exams are essential to proper pet care. There are a great number of diseases and illnesses that can be detected during a healthy pet exam. Most of these diseases can be treated when signs are first noticed, hopefully extending the pet’s life and decreasing the cost of managing these diseases. Based on exam findings and dog breed, your veterinarian may recommend additional screening for high blood pressure or glaucoma.
(for more info see our “Vaccine Guide”)
- All dogs need a series of Distemper (Distemper-Adeno2-Parvo-Parainfluenza or DA2PP) Vaccines at 1 year of age then every 3 years through adulthood.
- All dogs are required by law to receive a Rabies vaccine from a licensed veterinarian at a year of age and then every 3 years.
- Any dog that has any contact with other dogs needs a kennel cough vaccine (Bronchi-Shield Oral Bordetella Vaccine) yearly.
- Dogs that may contact urine of wildlife/rodents benefit from the Leptospirosis vaccine yearly.
- Dogs that are walked anywhere that they may pick up ticks can be protected from Lyme disease with a yearly Lyme vaccine. A quick tick-disease screening test will let us know they have not been exposed.
- Dogs that will encounter groups of dogs in kennels, daycare, or groomers can be protected from two strains of Canine Flu with a yearly vaccine.
Fecal Parasite Testing
By bringing a fresh stool sample (not more than 24 hours old), we can look for intestinal parasites that dogs can obtain from other dogs or by walking where wildlife has been. Some of these parasites are contagious to people, especially children, and immunocompromised individuals.
Annual Lyme, Heartworm, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma Screening
Eastern Massachusetts is a Lyme and Anaplasma endemic area.
Lyme disease is spread by the bite of the deer tick. Dogs that catch the Lyme bacteria may or may not develop the classic lameness and fever but are still at risk for further health problems, such as life-threatening kidney failure. The 4DX test that we use to test for Lyme also tests dogs for Heartworm disease and two other families of tick-borne diseases called Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis.
Annual Health Screen Bloodwork and Urinalysis
We will collect both a blood and urine sample from your dog. The test is no more painful than a needle stick. A Complete Blood Count, Biochemical Profile, two-part Thyroid Panel, and Urinalysis will be submitted to the laboratory for testing. This gives us lots of information about your dog’s organ function and immune system and screens for many diseases before symptoms appear.
Regular Parasite Prevention & Control
We recommend that all dogs receive year-round prevention for a variety of parasites that can be detrimental to their health and can be zoonotic (contagious to humans). The parasites that are essential to protect our canine companions against include: fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites. There are many safe and effective products that can be used to prevent these parasites. Your veterinarian can guide you to choose an individual preventative plan that fits your pet’s lifestyle.
Regular Oral Care
Your dog will live longer and may not have to have costly dental procedures if you can maintain excellent oral health in his or her mouth by daily tooth brushing. We also recommend the regular use of dental treats or several kibbles of dental diet given as treats for your dog to prevent dental disease. Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin make some great options.
If your dog is showing signs of tartar accumulation or gingivitis, we will recommend a professional dental cleaning under anesthesia. This allows us to clean, chart, and X-ray all of the teeth – just like our dentist does for us. Prompt attention to dental disease is the best strategy for saving teeth, preventing oral pain, and restoring oral health. Once periodontal disease has started, it is progressive and can lead to severe pain and tooth loss. As periodontal disease progresses, it becomes more costly to address.
*Due to the increasing costs of veterinary products and technology, our prices are subject to change.