Dogs are considered to have entered "old age" when they're about eight to 11, depending on the breed. Many dogs live well past this age, but in order to enjoy good health in their later years, they do require more care and attention. One way to ensure your older dog remains in good health is to seek care from specialty veterinarians. Here are three veterinary specialists your older dog can benefit from seeing.
Orthopedic problems are those that affect the muscles and joints. The most common orthopedic problem in older dogs is arthritis. Even older dogs who still seem willing to jump and play often have the beginnings of arthritis, and if you start managing it early on, you can keep it from becoming worse.
A veterinary orthopedist can evaluate your older dog's joints and let you know if any of them are developing arthritis. Based on their findings, they may recommend modifications to your dog's environment, such as giving them steps to help them get on the couch. The vet may also prescribe anti-inflammatory or arthritis medications to keep your older dog comfortable and limber.
Cardiac problems are unfortunately common in older dogs, as they are in older people. Unfortunately, a lot of dog owners don't know their dog has cardiac problems until they have a heart attack or other serious problems. Veterinary cardiologists focus on diagnosing and treating problems of the heart and circulatory system.
It's a good idea for your older dog to see one of these specialists. They can conduct an EKG and a few other basic tests to see how your dog's heart is doing. Based on their findings, they may recommend a different diet for your dog, or they may recommend more exercise or even a certain maintenance medication. The hope is that these early efforts can prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Veterinary dermatologists focus on diagnosing and treating problems of the skin. Not all dogs have skin problems, but they are very common as dogs age. Your dog may have some itchy spots, or they may have some small tumors. Diagnosing these issues early on allows them to be treated. A dermatologist can tell you whether a mole is something to worry about and have removed, or whether it can be left alone.
As your dog grows older, he or she may need more care. These veterinary specialists can provide that care. Contact a veterinarian specialist for more information.