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Cammy Presents: "A Note About 'Senior' Pets"
Cassy says...

Hi there! Cammy here!

For some reason, lately I've been thinking a lot about age - don't know why 'cause I'm not there yet. But, well, maybe I'm just thinking about some of our pups and kitties in the shelter that I've heard the volunteers use the term "senior" when they speak of them. And, I can't help but hear what they have to say: "Oh, Spot is a senior and no one seems to want to adopt him!", "Poor Sandy, because she's a senior, everyone walks right past her." I feel so bad for the seniors in the system. They like to play and have fun just like the rest of us but for some reason people stay away from them and won't take them home. So, I've given some thought to this whole subject...

I do listen to what our workers talk about and so I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned about taking care of senior furry companions with you.

They say the age of 7 years is when they call a pet a "senior." Now, that's something I didn't know. Personally, I think it's because we don't have as long a life as humans, so we are a bit older than our actual living years. Of course, we don't know that, we just want to play.

I've heard that at the age of 7 years and older, all dogs and cats should have what they call an annual geriatric evaluation along with another physical examination each year. I heard them say that this includes a thorough and complete physical examination, a complete blood count, blood chemistry profile, parasite check, urinalysis and radiography (whatever that is). After this evaluation, the vet can discuss the results and give you a treatment and/or diet plan if needed. This evaluation provides a good data base for your vet to compare information in future physicals of your loved one. When you and your vet work together, you can provide a healthier and happier life for your furry one.

Some of the things that can be detected by these exams for seniors are age-related diseases, heart problems, kidney or thyroid disease. These may be detected in the early stages to allow for treatment which could improve the length and quality of your companion's life. They tell me that in this age of today, it's safer for older pets to have surgery for tumors, dentistry and lots of other things that years ago, furries would have had to be, well, I don't even want to talk about it, but you know what I mean. There have also been great advances in medications to help with the discomfort of arthritis and also other normal aging changes. Normal aging changes may include loss of mobility, slower metabolism, loss of muscle and bone, sense of hearing, sight and smell. Gosh, we really are just like humans.

So, friends, my point in all of this is that if you have a senior at home, ask your vet to do a wellness plan for your companion. And, don't be afraid to adopt a senior - they have so much love to give and there are so many things out there to help you in their later years. And, besides, they really don't know how old they are - they just want to play, love and have a nice home. And I really think that they deserve a nice, warm, loving home just as much, if not more, than the younger pups! And don't forget the unconditional love that they give - no human that I know of does that!

So, think of it this way - you could be a very "special" human by adopting a senior today. They shouldn't have to spend the last years of their life in a kennel. Believe me, I hear them dreaming all the time - "oh, a warm, friendly, loving human mom and/or dad, a nice, soft bed to sleep in and some special senior food to eat - Wow, that's the life! - I WISH!

Love, Cammy