Senior Exam/End of Life Care

Senior Exam/End of Life Care

Senior pets are a lot like senior humans – they require more frequent checkups and tender loving care to keep them happy and healthy. There is a difference between aging animals and older people, however. Your pet ages much faster than you do, so disease and illness progress faster as well.

At Alto Tiburon Veterinary Hospital, we know all the work that goes into keeping an animal healthy over the course of a lifetime, and we understand very well just how important your senior pet is to you. Your furry friend has reached these precious golden years because you’ve done your job as a pet parent, feeding them nourishing food, getting them plenty of exercise and socialization, and showering them with love.

The rest, of course, is up to us, and we have made senior wellness one of our main missions. A large part of that mission is preventative care. Beginning when your pet is seven years old, we recommend twice-yearly exams, as well as a comprehensive geriatric blood panel that can check for issues like anemia, liver disease, hypothyroidism, and kidney problems.  It is also recommended to perform an ultrasound to get a visualization of any potential issues within the abdominal cavity.  Our goal is to use these diagnostic tools to detect and prevent any medical issues that might arise in the future for your pet.  We might also suggest X-rays if we suspect any orthopedic abnormalities or other concerns.  These senior preventative packages are discounted for you and your pet’s convenience.  Please call if you would like to learn more information about these packages.

Your senior pet’s routine wellness examination gives you an opportunity to discuss concerns and includes specialized lab work to detect early signs of disease processes. Our veterinarians tailor these exams and tests to your pet’s age, breed, lifestyle, and physical condition in order to best meet his or her health needs. We also include information regarding nutrition, pain and arthritis management, and preserving your pet’s quality of life.

Speaking of quality of life, you’ve probably heard that your pet will tell you when he or she is ready to be put down, but the truth is, it’s not always easy to know when the time is right. We can help you with this decision. A few things to consider in the meantime:

  • Is your pet clearly in pain?
  • Has your pet lost interest in her favorite activities?
  • Has your pet stopped being able to perform basic functions like eating, drinking, eliminating outdoors/in the litterbox?

If you decide that it’s time to put your pet to sleep, we will give him or her a gentle sedative so that he or she will feel no pain. After that, we’ll administer another drug that effectively renders them unconscious and shuts down heart and brain function. The process is short and humane, and we will be with you every step of the way, explaining what’s happening and giving you whatever time and privacy you need to say goodbye and to grieve.