Do you have an older pet that is having a hard time getting up in the morning? Are they slower on their walks? Reluctant to play like they used to? If so, maybe it’s time for a visit with your veterinarian.
As your pet ages (an average of 3.5yrs every 6 months!), the signs of aging become more noticeable and it is often thought of as just that….“oh he’s just getting older”. However aging is not a disease. It’s the symptoms of aging that affect the quality of your pet’s life and these symptoms can be treated.
There are several things that can be done to help manage and treat the signs of aging in your elderly pet. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam; run a blood panel to assess their overall health and organ function and offer guidance and advice on nutritional or behavioral concerns which change as your pet ages. In some cases, radiographs may be taken to help identify osteoarthritis or abnormalities in their bones, lungs, heart or abdomen. Once you have a better overall picture of your senior pet’s health, a plan specific to your pet’s needs can be devised. This may or may not include things such as a diet change, adopting a new exercise routine, an age appropriate vaccine protocol, the use of supplements or NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and the introduction of a rehabilitation program.
Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is thrilled to be able to offer this new service to our senior patients. Pet rehabilitation (commonly known as physiotherapy in the human world) can help strengthen your pet’s body, which helps to maintain their balance. By performing specific exercises and therapeutic modalities your pet can increase strength and endurance. There are wonderful positive psychological effects for pets and owners when performing rehabilitation. This is a tool that increases the bond between you and your four-legged companion. It can allow you to be more in tune with your pet’s day to day comfort and quality of life and allow you to assess when it is time for a follow-up visit with your veterinarian.
There are several benefits to performing physical rehabilitation with animals. It will improve the biomechanics and flexibility of their body and can reduce pain, allowing them to move more confidently. Physical rehabilitation is non-invasive and can make such a difference in your pet’s temperament. One wonderful aspect of rehabilitation is it can help prevent further injury through owner and trainer education.
If this is something that interests you, please discuss this with your family veterinarian. As with people, rehabilitation isn’t right for every pet. Your veterinarian can assess your pet and see if physical rehabilitation can not only be beneficial, or perhaps slow down some of those uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms of aging!
Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital