Mature Years (5-8yr)
In many cases this period of life can be quite smooth sailing with regards to medical issues. Most individuals have settled into a routine, and they are less active so fewer physical injuries occur. They have usually mastered training on a day-to-day basis so your life as a pet parent is less complicated compared to toilet and behavioural training in the early stages of life. However, this period of life is also when chronic medical issues can start to arise. Therefore, we introduce preventative measures and screening to help identify and minimise the impact these issues may have on your pet.
Perhaps the most common preventative measures we can enlist are dental care and arthritis. For cats and dogs there are many options for dental care that will help to reduce the need for more invasive cleaning later in life. This can include prescription diets, veterinary approved dental treats, water additives and teeth cleaning by you at home.
Arthritis is more an issue for our larger breed canine individuals at this stage. Arthritis in its pure definition is simply joint inflammation and there are many preventative measures we can introduce to help at this stage of life. We recommend a discussion with your vet to work out an individual plan to help slow the progression of arthritis. Some of the options to consider include exercise variance, sleeping location and type of bedding, more natural supplements, prescription diets and arthritis injections.
We recommend an initial screening blood test around the age of 7 years (earlier for large and giant breeds). This gives us a baseline for comparison in the years ahead. In some cases, this may pick up early changes which allows for more proactive management before clinical signs have shown up. In these cases, follow-up blood tests are typically required anywhere from every 3-12 months depending on the changes found.
Maintaining your six-monthly check-ups will go a very long way in helping manage any medical issues as early as possible.