Caring For Your Senior Pet

Senior Pet Care

With diagnostics, nutritional therapy and pain control, we can help you make this period of life a long, happy time for your pet.

Senior care is a focus for us. We recommend yearly exams and encourage owners to consider biannual exams if any age-related issues arise. Senior pets have special needs. By taking the time to learn more about these needs, you've taken the first step toward ensuring your pet leads a healthy and happy life for many more years.

Pets in their senior years — those of about six years of age and older — begin to go through a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities. This process can be slowed and managed through proper veterinary care thereby offering your beloved pet an extended period of vitality and good health.

Additionally, preventive care tailored to your pet's age, lifestyle, risk factors and other elements can help prevent common diseases or detect them at early and easily treatable stages.

There is also an important role for you to play as your pet's primary caregiver. While you cannot control age-related decline, you can influence your pet's activity level, living conditions, access to quality senior veterinary care, and daily nutrition. With our help, you can manage these factors in order to prolong your pet's good health, vitality, and increase his or her wellbeing, even as his or her pace slows a bit.

At Burlington Veterinary Hospital, we offer personalized plans to address the specific needs of older dogs and cats. This plan provides us and you a baseline to monitor your pet at a time when small changes can be detected and that may identify health problems before they become serious concerns or even life threatening.

Our senior exams may include:

  • Glaucoma check
  • Complete blood count
  • Complete urinalysis
  • Heartworm test
  • Abdominal and chest radiographs
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Full chemistry blood panel
  • Internal parasite test
  • Thyroid test
  • Electrocardiogram as recommended

Senior Pet Care Some of these tests are not time intensive or difficult to do and can be performed during routine wellness exams.


Glaucoma is a condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye increases to a point where the optic nerve is damaged, causing loss of vision and blindness. Glaucoma is relatively common in animals and can develop as your pet ages — this is known as chronic glaucoma — or as the result of an injury or illness — which is known as acute glaucoma.

We use a tonometer to measure the fluid pressure inside your pet's eyes. This is a noninvasive procedure and rarely causes an animal any pain or discomfort. We will apply a mild anesthetic eye-drop to ensure your pet is comfortable during the exam.

The examination is very quick to perform and once done, we will explain your pet's measurement, what it tells us about the health of your pet's eyes, and provide any treatment options if necessary.

In many cases glaucoma can progress quite rapidly. This can be considered an emergency situation. Glaucoma symptoms to look for include:

  • Redness in the eye
  • Tearing or discharge
  • Eye sensitivity to light
  • Pain
  • The eye may look cloudy
  • Bulging eyeball

A routine glaucoma exam is not only an effective screening measure for chronic and acute glaucoma, but can also help set a baseline measurement for your pet. Setting a baseline measurement is important because normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP) can vary between species, breeds and even individual pets.