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Proper veterinary care for older dogs

When it comes to the need for medical attention, your pooch is like a human. As a puppy, he needed vaccinations and frequent check-ups. When he became an adult, routine exams were still important, but could be performed less frequently. As he grows older, his need for ongoing veterinary care becomes greater. His health – and by extension, his happiness – is heavily dependent upon the prevention of diseases, and early treatment in the event they are diagnosed.

Because canines are living longer, it is more important than ever for owners to arrange for their veterinary care. Below, we’ll provide a brief overview of the types of services and examinations older pooches need from their veterinarians.

Weight Control And Nutrition Advice

Weight and nutrition play key roles in your canine’s long-term health. One of the most prevalent conditions that have afflicted dogs over the last ten years is obesity. Left unchecked, it can lead to joint pain and long-term health issues.

Your veterinarian can help design a meal and exercise program that will help you control your pooch’s weight while making sure he receives the vitamins and nutrients he needs. If necessary, the vet can recommend supplements to compensate for any nutritional deficiencies.

Medical History And Physical Examination

A key to effective veterinary care is to start a medical history on your dog as soon as possible. That way, the vet can track symptoms and identify the onset of any health-related problems.

Periodic physical exams are an integral part of compiling this history. Normally, adult canines should undergo a full examination once per year. As your pooch grows older, your veterinarian may suggest he undergo exams twice or even three times per year. This is especially true if your dog suffers any serious health conditions that require regular monitoring.

Other Types Of Exams

Your vet will examine your canine’s teeth, gums, and mouth during the course of a routine physical examination. This can help prevent gum disease and other dental issues. If your pooch is unaccustomed to having his mouth opened by someone, he may need to be sedated.

Another important examination that your veterinarian will perform is a rectal exam. This too, is a regular component of the physical exam. The vet will take a look at your dog’s colon and prostate (in the case of a male). The lymph nodes and urinary tract should also be examined.

As canines age, they become more susceptible to problems that inflict their eyes. For example, they can develop cataracts and glaucoma. Your veterinarian will want to examine your pooch’s eyes in order to identify such issues early – before they can cause permanent vision impairment.

There are several additional services that your vet may want to perform to help ensure the long-term health of your dog. These might include treatment for parasites and heartworms, urinalysis, thyroid testing, blood pressure testing, and a complete blood count. In the end, trust the veterinarian and follow his or her recommendations. By doing so, you’ll help your four-legged friend live a long and happy life.

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