Senior Dogs

Recommendations for Senior Dogs:

Caring for your dog should change as your pet ages, for many different reasons. Older dogs can develop behavior changes, disorientation, and anxiety and are susceptible to major health risks. The aging process in senior dogs affect every organ. Special attention should be taken to any changes. Some major health concerns for older pets could include:

  • Hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Neoplasia or Cancer
  • Heart disease

Osteoarthritis: Old age is not a disease, but your pet may need special attention. Your pet should have an exam by one of our Doctors every 6 months.

Vaccinations: Your senior pet still needs to have regular vaccination and protection against parasites

Vaccinations, what they are:

DHPP Vaccine: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvoviral Enteritis are an all in one vaccine. These four viruses are commonly abbreviated DHPP

Distemper: The typical distemper suspect is a rescue or pet store dog or puppy, usually with questionable vaccination history or an as yet incomplete vaccination series. The dog or puppy has been housed with other rescue dogs. Distemper is a viral disease that can cause many different signs including cough, nasal discharge, and abnormal neurological signs. This is a widespread, often fatal disease

Hepatitis: Can cause severe liver disease and kidney damage or death. May also contribute to the respiratory infection, kennel cough.

Parainfluenza: A virus that may cause coughing, bronchitis and pneumonia. This is often a mild respiratory infection in otherwise healthy dogs, but can be severe in puppies or debilitated dogs.

Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo): This is an extremely contagious virus; puppies are the most vulnerable to this virus. Clinical signs can include intense vomiting, diarrhea, extreme lethargy, anorexia and dehydration.

Vaccines: Adult dogs (over 2 years of age)
Annual revaccination (boosters) is recommended for the first year after the “puppy vaccines”; thereafter, you should discuss the benefits and risks of annual vaccination with your vet.

In the past, the DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus) vaccine was typically given each year. These recommendations are changing. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) came out with new guidelines in 2006 that suggests that adult dog vaccines boosters may be adequate if given every 3 years. Specific vaccine requirements for individual dogs should be discussed with your veterinarian

Bordetella: A bacteria that contributes to the kennel cough. It is a complex infection and may cause bronchitis, it can occur alone or in combination with certain viruses. It is easily passed from pet-to-pet; it is an airborne virus, most commonly from boarding or grooming facilities.

A vaccine against bordetella is recommended. This vaccine needs to be given twice initially then every 6 months.

Rabies: Is almost always fatal (only one person in history has ever been known to survive rabies infection. This virus attacks the brain and nervous system. Rabies can be transmitted to people through the bite of an infected animal. This vaccine is required by law.

The rabies vaccine should be given as recommended by local law. First with their puppy vaccines then may be adequate if given once every 3 years, but specific vaccine requirements for individual dogs should be discussed with your veterinarian.

If your adult dog has an adverse reaction to the vaccine (fever, vomiting, shaking, facial swelling or hives) discuss the risk of annual revaccination with your veterinarian.