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Senior health in our pets – how to help our furry friends enjoy their later years

At GVC we love all our pet patients, young and old!

Kittens and puppies are wonderfully cute and as they age their personalities mature and their characters really emerge into the complex and adorable family members we cherish so much.

For pet parents, the move from adult to “senior” or “mature”, however, can often happen without due recognition as the changes are so subtle and over time. But, like with humans, the progression of time will impact our pets in a number of ways that we should consider and potentially address.

A study published by the Journal of Internal Veterinary Medicine in 2017 screened 101 senior dogs that were apparently (to their owners) in good health and found that the majority had underlying conditions that were or would impact quality and extent of life.

“…this study clearly indicated the value and the need for regular health checks of apparently healthy elderly dogs to improve early disease detection and allow early therapeutic intervention. Health screening programs should minimally comprise thorough history (questionnaire), extensive Physical Exam (PE), and complete blood and urine examinations…

In conclusion, PE and laboratory abnormalities are common in apparently healthy elderly dogs. Veterinarians play a pivotal role in improving health care for elderly pets by stimulating and performing regular health screening and by raising owner awareness for potentially important, but unnoticed, clinical signs in aging dogs.”

A Willems et al (2017)

Similar studies and evidence are equally available for our feline companions, so to help our furry friends reach their twilight years happily and healthily, we at GVC offer the Senior Health Profile.

This combines a number of key health indicator tests and checks to identify a range of age-related conditions that, through early recognition (and treatment if needed), can be prevented from debilitating and impacting the quality of life for our furry seniors.

Recommended for cats and dogs over the age of seven (although large breed dogs can be considered a little earlier), the Senior Health Profile involves testing of blood and urine samples as well as blood pressure and organ function tests. The range of tests and “ailments” screened for are considered suitable to provide a detailed overview of patient health.

For our Senior Health Profile patients, the samples will be collected, and tests conducted (in-house utilizing GVC’s laboratory facilities) over a couple of hours in a manner intended to limit any potential stress, this may include a sedation if deemed as the best method to ensure patient comfort as GVC’s focus on the welfare of our patients will always be our overriding consideration. Of course, by allowing time for our patients to relax means that we are also best placed to achieve accurate results (especially where blood pressure is concerned).

The results will then be shared by your Vet during a discharge consultation with recommendations and advice as needed which may include their diet, exercise regime and mental and emotional health.

We look at this as a “Peace of Mind” Package and the logical progression of preventative care to support our pets as they reach their later years.



As stated by the American Veterinary Medical Association: “Due to improved veterinary care and dietary habits, pets are living longer now than they ever have before” which is fantastic for all pet families and something that we should be looking to celebrate with our furry friends. With the advances in science there are also numerous age-specific or condition-specific diets and supplements available to help ease our adorable aging furries into their later years and allow all to enjoy a good quality of life.

With the medical knowledge and technology available at GVC, we’re confident in helping our customers better understand and support their furry friends become senior citizens.

Please call 02 556 2024 or email to learn more or make a booking.