Sylvan Veterinary Hospital

3520 Roselle Ave.
Modesto, CA 95357
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(209) 551–4527
Hablamos Español

Senior Pet Care:
Discover How to Make These Years Golden

senior pet care

As much as we may hate to admit it, aging is a natural part of life. How we deal with it, however, is our choice. The veterinarians and staff at Sylvan Veterinary Hospital are extremely dedicated to our senior patients. We will work with you to ensure your pet receives the wellness care he or she needs in order to be active and healthy throughout his or her golden years.

Becoming a Senior

Dogs are considered to be senior pets at the age of 7. Cats, on the other hand, reach this milestone at the age of 10. As pets become older, they tend to be less active, and their eyesight and hearing will diminish. These minor changes are natural and mirror those found in people.

Another characteristic we share is that senior pets are more prone to developing diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, and cancer. The best way to protect your senior pet is to make sure that he or she receives regular pet wellness exams. In addition, it’s important to keep an eye out for potential signs of trouble so that you can obtain treatment as early as possible. Some things to watch out for include:

Metabolic changes:

  • Changes in appearance (skin, coat, muscle tone)
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Changes in eating or drinking habits
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of house training

Physical changes:

  • Limping or stiffness of gait
  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Dental problems (offensive breath)
  • Increased infections
  • Digestive problems

Behavioral changes:

  • Less interaction with family members
  • Less enthusiastic greeting behavior
  • Sleeping more
  • Disorientation or confusion (getting lost in the house or yard)
  • Less responsive to verbal cues or name

The “Golden Years” Check-up Program

Our veterinarians are passionate about providing senior pets with the health care they require. That’s why we created a “golden years” check-up program for our older patients. This program provides an affordable way to ensure your senior pet receives the veterinary screenings necessary to detect potential pet health problems early and provide prompt treatment.

This is important because when our veterinarians conduct blood tests on senior pets, we uncover a disorder approximately 20% of the time—despite the fact that no clinical signs are present. Whether it’s a urinary tract infection or hypothyroidism in dogs or kidney disease or hyperthyroidism in cats, early detection can be essential to achieving the best possible outcome.

Here is what you can expect from your pet’s golden years check-ups:

Annual physical exam
Our veterinarians will check your pet’s general appearance, temperature, body weight, heart, lungs, ears, eyes, thyroid glands, and skin. We’ll also give your pet a thorough oral exam to ensure his or her teeth and gums are healthy.
Complete blood count
This test aids in the detection and diagnosis of infections, anemia, bleeding problems, and cancer. It also provides clues about the status of your pet’s immune system.
Serum chemistry profile
This is used in order to assess the function of the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, along with other organs. It is also used for early diagnosis of diseases, such as diabetes.
Complete urinalysis
A urine sample will be checked for evidence of infection and to further assess kidney function.

Fecal analysis
A fecal sample will be examined for evidence of parasites and protozoa.
Systolic blood pressure
A blood pressure measurement will be taken to determine if systemic hypertension is present.

Depending upon your pet’s health and whether he or she has an ongoing condition, we may recommend more frequent wellness exams and blood work. Should further tests be needed, our veterinary hospital is equipped with the latest in advanced veterinary diagnostic tools, including digital X-ray technology, echocardiography, and ultrasound, to name a few.
Senior Pet Counseling
In addition to conducting pet health screenings, our veterinarians will review your pet’s vaccination schedule to make sure that he or she is current. We will also discuss flea, tick, and heartworm prevention.

Since your senior pet’s dietary needs will change over time, our veterinarians will provide pet nutrition counseling as well. Senior pets require fewer calories because they are less active. A diet that is high in fiber and enriched with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and beta-carotene will go a long way toward enhancing your senior pet’s health and well-being. Keeping your pet at the proper weight will also lower his or her chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and more.

Advanced Veterinary Services

Our veterinarians have extensive experience when it comes to the special needs of senior pets. We offer an array of advanced treatments, including orthopedic surgery for fracture repairs, hip dysplasia, and patella luxation, as well as cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) repair. We also perform flexible endoscopy and laparoscopic procedures to inspect internal organs and systems—as well as collect biopsies—with minimal impact or trauma to patients. This is especially helpful to seniors as they are slower to recover and heal.

For those pets that suffer from cat or dog arthritis or other painful health issues, we offer many different pain management therapies. These range from pet medications and nutritional supplements to laser therapy, which is especially beneficial to those suffering from any kind of inflammation.

We also offer rehabilitation services, specifically designed for your pet, by a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner, which can help to improve your pet's health and vitality by reducing pain, increasing mobility, strengthening muscles, and improving balance and coordination.

We know how much your senior pet means to you. We will do everything possible to ensure his or her golden years are happy ones.

Pet Health
Puppy & Kitten Wellness
Senior Pet Care
Flea & Tick Prevention
Pet Health Library

AAHA accreditedAmerican Animal Hospital Association’s process of accreditation is similar to what human hospitals go through.

Fear Free Certified

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Just wanted to let you know that Allie is doing great after Lap Spay on 4-10-12. Took her one day and she was back to normal. What a great way to get a dog spayed- I will recommend it to all my friends. Here is a photo of Allie that I took yesterday in our pasture with California Poppies. I thought it was cute! Thanks again!!
Karin Wickstrom

I have been taking my Beagle, Destiny, to Sylvan Vet for the last 10 years. She has had many medical problems throughout her life. There were times that I didn’t think she was going to pull though, yet, with wonderful Veterinarians like Dr. Tiffany Cardoza and Dr. Kipp Magnussen, she is still here with me today. I am grateful for their expertise in knowing exactly what she needs and for their compassion towards the both of us, in our hour of need. We are very blessed to know that compassionate help is always there. My deepest thanks and appreciation.
DeAnna Bingham

Sylvan Veterinary Hospital has been an important part of our family’s life for several years now. Most recently they helped to preserve our pug Sweetie’s vision with a new surgery technique. Everyone in the hospital works diligently to serve our needs. There is open communication with the front office staff, the technicians and the doctors whenever necessary. Our concerns and questions are always addressed quickly and the doctors are always available to us whenever needed.
Roger and Diane

What a great neighborhood veterinary clinic! I love the convenient hours and boarding facility. They have a nice, friendly staff and team of doctors who involve me in making the right choice for my pet.
Karin Mcknight

I can’t say enough about the miraculous results you can get from laser therapy. I used it for my puppy’s foot wound that wouldn’t hold stitches. The wound was completely closed in three treatments-without a scar! Also, this pup has elbow dysplasia and laser has helped him quickly regain soundness when he played too roughly. And the best part- it’s not expensive. I’m a tried-and-true believer of this technology.
Lee Nudo and Jagger La Grange, CA

Eleven years ago, Dr. Kipp Magnussen saved the life of my young kitten and I was genuinely impressed with his compassion and competence. Over the years I have been extremely happy with the care all the vets and vet techs have provided for my various dogs and cats. In addition, it is a mark of commitment to the highest standards of quality medical care that Sylvan Vet is accredited through the AAHA. I continue to highly recommend this clinic.
Page Riskin, MD

We have been a client of Sylvan Vet for the past 20 years. Just recently, Bodie, our Chocolate Lab experienced a wound to his back that was quite serious. After two months of patience, determination and constant care by Dr. Kipp Magnussen, Bodie has been nursed back to health. Kipp's staff has become family to us. Each and every one of them is kind, friendly and compassionate! Bodie just celebrated his tenth Birthday and is even swimming again. Thank you Sylvan Vet!!
Anita Bauer

I love the doctors and staff at Sylvan Veterinary Hospital for the care and compassion they have given my dogs over the years. From luxating patella surgery to nail cleaning, the care level is the highest. I would recommend them to any and all pet owners.
Pat Osdahl