VCA Hawaii is helping pet owners get the best care for their pet’s changing needs as the animals age

Sponsored by VCA Hawaii

As pets age, it’s important to pay attention to their health and give them the specific care they need. HI Now host Jobeth Devera is with Dr. Noele Tom with VCA University Hawaii Hospital to talk about how owners can best handle their pet’s special needs as they grow older.

Dr. Tom explains that different breeds and species are considered seniors at different ages associated with life stages, but a general rule of thumb is about seven years and older. She says senior pets should come in to the vet at least twice a year, and some doctors may even recommend every three to four months. A lot can change for pets in a short amount of time, especially considering their shorter life spans compared to humans. As pets get older, it’s best that doctors see them often so that any health concerns or potential health concerns can be identified early on so that they can be addressed in the best way possible.

Senior pets need the same things as humans. Dr. Tom says it’s best that they get blood work done twice a year so that any abnormalities can be identified. These tests are good indicators of how well a pet’s organs are working. Blood pressure readings should also be taken to ensure that a pet’s heart is still working efficiently. High or low blood pressure can be indicators of certain types of diseases. Dr. Tom explains that it’s also a good idea to have x-rays of their chest and abdomen taken as a form of cancer screening.

It’s also important to note that senior pets still need vaccinations. These are necessary to ensure that pets are protected against specific diseases. However, as they become older, their lifestyles will change somewhat and vaccinations should be tailored to their specific lifestyle and risk for exposure.

Dental cleanings are also still very important as pets gets older. Plaque and tartar buildup at the gumline can introduce harmful bacteria into a pet’s bloodstream, which over time can affect critical organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys, leading to disease and sometimes even failure of those organs.

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