Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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A New Lease on Life for Senior and Geriatric Pets

It is no secret that the lifespan of domestic animals is increasing. Cats, dogs, exotic pets, and other animals we share our lives with are receiving more attentive care, and the benefit of various treatments, diets, and increased awareness of their needs. It is a growing area in veterinary medicine, with improved quality and often increased quantity of life, and even palliative care options are improving.

Not so many years ago, many cats and dogs spent the majority of their time outdoors; they were guardians, hunting partners, mousers, and more. Recently, cats have become primarily (if not exclusively) indoor, and dogs are walked, monitored more closely, spend a great amount of time as household “fur kids.” They are family members, part of the home, and often inseparable from their human and/or fellow animals in the home.

Senior and geriatric pet care has improved as dramatically as our pets’ lifespans. Early wellness testing, including urinalysis, bloodwork, thyroid levels and more, are helping detect disease processes even before they are outwardly affecting the pet. It, in turn, allows for simple, early changes in diet and/or lifestyle, to help delay further damage or strain on organ systems.

For example, finding hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid disease) earlier in cats, before kidney disease, hypertension or other secondary issues have occurred. It allows for more treatment options that offer a cure, as with radioactive iodine therapy possibly. Another example is with arthritis in pets. Early diagnosis of degenerative changes in the joints of the body allows us to begin supplement injections, diets, medications and/or physiotherapy. Most of these happen before the pet has become withdrawn, irritable, or has lost a lot of muscle mass. Kidney disease, liver issues, dental disease and more can be intercepted earlier with regular examinations and wellness testing.

Another area of importance is palliative care. Age, with its wear and tear on an individual’s body systems, is inevitable. Diseases we can manage earlier and with better outcomes still ultimately may cause the decline of an animal’s quality of life. The human-animal bond becomes a pinnacle reason for us to palliatively manage these animals, easing pain, encouraging appetite, decreasing nausea.

There are various levels of palliative care. An elderly fur-child may be arthritic, have mild cognitive changes (senility), or have bathroom habits that are undesirable (inappropriate urination or defecation). There are various pain control options, medications and diets for senility-like symptoms, as well as ways to alter the animal’s environment. Adding trips outside for dogs, or another litter box on a different level of the home for cats, raising food and water bowls off the floor a bit so arthritic pets don’t need to strain their necks, backs and forelegs as much when trying to eat, and more can improve their quality of life.

Although we all realize the inevitable time will come to help our pets leave this world, so many simple things can be done before this, to allow the last months of a pet’s life to be the best they possibly can.

If you have questions or concerns about your senior or geriatric fur kids, please contact us for information and a senior wellness examination.

Written by: Dr. Adrienne Harris-Dain

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Last updated: June 29, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective June 5, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, Lyme testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

4. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday - Friday: 7:30 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sunday: Closed


NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Fairview Animal Hospital