September is Senior Pet Wellness Month

Aug 24, 2012, 11:32 ET from Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa., Aug. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA):

September is senior pet wellness month and now is the time to highlight the importance of routine examinations for these older pets. Pet life expectancy has doubled over the last fifty years due in part to improved nutrition and more regular veterinary care. While the old saying of "one year equals seven years in a pet" isn't strictly accurate, it's a good gauge to keep in mind. This means that you'll have a senior dog—similar to a person at age fifty—at seven years old and at ten years for a cat.

Just like our routine check-ups get more important as we age, the same is true for your pets. Treatable conditions can be caught earlier, making the chance of recovery that much greater. Keep in mind that larger breed dogs can age quicker than their smaller counterparts and toy breeds more slowly. According to Dr. Michael Watts, "When pets enter the 'over fifty' crowd, pets should graduate to more thorough laboratory screening tests than younger pets. Complete blood counts can detect chronic inflammatory conditions, platelet problems, anemia, and even some cancers. Serum chemistries can detect diabetes, liver conditions, kidney impairment, digestive problems, hormone imbalances and more."

Older pets age the equivalent of four to seven years throughout each 12-month cycle, so screening your pet every six months is recommended. The guidelines for senior pet care recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) can be found on their website at Contact your veterinarian to see what type of screening they have in place for your older pets.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)