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Oregon vets offer tips to keep senior pets healthy


Oregon veterinarians recommend that senior pets have veterinary exams twice a year to help detect and treat illness or disease as early as possible in order to maintain their quality of life.

Generally speaking, most cats and dogs are considered to be seniors around age 7, although large breed dogs may experience age-related health issues earlier than that. Your veterinarian can tell you at what age your pet is considered to be a senior.

Health issues common in senior pets

As they age, pets may develop some of the same health concerns seen in aging humans, such as:

Diabetes Arthritis Heart disease Cancer Kidney or liver disease Thyroid issues Behavior changes (senility)

Semi-annual veterinary care is recommended

“A veterinary exam twice per year, along with lab work, will enable your veterinarian to diagnose and treat disease as early as possible in order to maintain your pet’s quality of life. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate diet for your senior pet’s nutritional needs as well as discuss behavior and mobility issues,” says Marla McGeorge DVM of The Cat Doctor, a feline veterinary clinic in Portland.

What to watch for in senior pets

Your senior pet should be seen by its veterinarian if it shows any of these symptoms, as they can be indicators of illness or disease:

Increased or decreased appetite Weight gain or loss Urination issues, such as accidents in the house Vomiting Changes in grooming habits or behavior, such as disorientation New “lumps or bumps” that persist or grow Sores that do not heal Lameness or stiffness

The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association is a nonprofit organization of veterinarians who are dedicated to helping people give their animals a high quality of life. For more pet health care tips, visit or talk to your veterinarian.

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