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Our pets age much faster than we do. In order to help them age gracefully, we need to pay attention for signs of any developing problems. In their golden years certain health issues arise more commonly, like mobility issues, dental problems, changes in behaviour, loss of kidney function and the appearance of growths. We know what to look for, and we will suggest the right diagnostics to identify and manage those diseases effectively.

Geriatric Care

When do our pets become senior? 

It varies, but cats and small dogs are generally considered geriatric at the age of 7. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and are considered geriatric when they are approximately 6 years of age. Owners tend to want to think of their pet’s age in human terms. While it is not as simple as “1 human year = X cat/dog years”, there are calculations that can help put a pet’s age in human terms.

Age: Human equivalents for older pets

Human YearsCat Years
Human years (*dog size lbs)Dog Years
Small – Medium: 44-47
Large – Very Large: 50 -56
Small – Medium: 56-60
Large – Very large: 66-78
Small – Medium: 76-83
Large – Very large: 93-115
Small – Medium: 96-105
Large: 120
*Small: 0-20 lbs; Medium: 21-50 lbs; Large: 51-90 lbs; Very large: >90 lbs
The oldest recorded age of a cat is 34 years. The oldest recorded age of a dog is 29 years.

In order to help them age gracefully, senior pets require increased attention, including more frequent visits to the vet, possible diet changes and in some cases, alterations in their home environment.

Common health issues in senior pets:

  • Mobility issues
  • Dental problems
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Kidney/urinary tract disease
  • Heart disease
  • Endocrine disease (diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disorders)
  • Senility

My family has been fortunate enough to be long time clients of Dr Buxton, entrusting the care of all our four legged family members to her since we moved from Australia to Canada in 2002. Carolyn is a very skilled, experienced, caring and compassionate veterinarian, a consummate professional, and shows a true passion for what she does. She stays current with veterinary practice advancements, and is thorough, kind, and understanding – always taking the time to inform, and lay out all the diagnostic and treatment options available to our four legged family members when they are clearly not feeling well. She follows up on their treatment, making certain that her patients are responding as expected. She responds to any concerns, and ensures that our pets get the best care available. Her dedication to animal care is also displayed through her long term involvement with the Mexi-Can Vet Project – volunteering both her time and her skills to perform sterilization surgeries, and treat many other seriously ill patients during the 4 day-long free spay and neuter clinics in poor communities in the Jaltemaba Bay area on the west coast of Mexico – a charitable pet-related endeavour. Along with her participation in these free clinics, Carolyn regularly brings some of her Mexi-Can patients back with her to rehome these dogs in Canada. That, from my point of view, speaks volumes about Dr Buxton – her very clear love for what she does so well, and her obvious dedication to her clients and her profession.

- Diane H.

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