Aging Canine

Aging (Senior/Elder) – Canine – House Pet - Age >8yrs

Our Preventative Healthcare Plans allow our attending veterinarians to offer a reward program, based on professional services, for preventative screening. Your veterinary team will evaluate your pet’s predominant breed, age, medical history, lifestyle, and condition to create a Health Risk Assessment (HRA)—identifying your pet’s risk for potential disease. During this evaluation, we can have a family discussion, creating actionable items and a vaccination plan. Our goal? To guard your pet against infectious diseases, and allow us to manage other non-infectious diseases or conditions should they occur

Components of this Life-stage Program

  1. Comprehensive Physical Examination

  2. Accuplex Heartworm Screen (also checks for tick-borne disease)

  3. Senior Metabolic Blood Panel/CBC/Electrolyte Screen

  4. Fecal Ova and Parasite Screen

  5. Urine Chemistry & Analysis

  6. Annual Healthcare Planning (Based on Medical History, Breed, or Lifestyle)

  7. Courtesy (no exam fee) Six-Month Follow Up Exam

Aging Pet Dogs – Healthcare Information

Characteristics: Senior dogs are on average 55-75 human years old. They independent and experienced. Senior dogs can sometimes seem a bit grumpy if pain management is needed. However, seniors and aging dogs are typically very loyal and thrive on consistency. They provide mentorship and screening for the right additions to the household if considering a younger dog. Younger dogs, when the right match for everyone involved can help keep aging dogs fit and on their toes. Elderly dogs are on average 77-87 human years old. They are independent and experienced. They don't always do well with big changes, and due to sensory changes or disability may startle when awakened, or can experience confusion. However, they enjoy the moment and their time with you immensely. They can really teach us to enjoy each day.

Prone to: Obesity, "wear and tear" diseases such as arthritis or dental disease, heart disease, liver/kidney diseases, diabetes, certain cancers. All pets should be spayed or neutered to avoid reproductive diseases. Elderly dogs can show signs of spinal disease; CDS/Dementia; infectious diseases could be more severe due to a less responsive immune system. Heartworm disease is a problem for dogs of all ages in S. Indiana;

In addition to healthcare: Maintain or modify your dog’s exercise program. Activities that require increased mental attention & foster emotional wellness are encouraged and are more important than focusing on endurance or physical strength at this stage. Continue light exercising to maintain weight. Avoid overexertion and excessive heat and cold. Do not drop activities that your pet enjoys--just be sensitive to his/her body changes and limitations. Once your dog becomes elderly, if your dog enjoys swimming or snow, for example, do not let him/her go too far as unpredictable fatigue can create danger.

Maintain monthly grooming. Note any changes in skin character and the presence of lumps or bumps. Use a highly digestible food appropriate for your dog’s energy needs, made with whole foods, which maintains an appropriate urinary pH, and is appropriate for your dog's slowing metabolism. Consider adding canned food and a pet fountain to increase hydration resources. Add orthopedic dog bedding and a body harness to your dog's accessories. Your dog may need to go outside more often to maintain housetraining. Consider introducing cold-laser therapy by making packaged appointments with us consistent with increased activity and signs of pain. Massage therapy for active seniors can be initiated at home in early senior years. Continue your pet's oral hygiene regimen, with briefer, more frequent exams to focus on your pet's dentistry, ophthalmology, or breed health. Re-evaluate your pet's holistic metabolic or joint supplements as his/her needs change.

Even if we didn't bank them, we can offer a point of care stem cell therapy which could mean the difference between prolonged recovery should your pet experience an orthopedic injury or develop arthritis. Stem cells during your pet's procedure are extracted via adipose tissue (fat) for higher yield and can be banked for further treatments and therapies. Platelet Rich Plasma is also used to speed recovery time and start your pet's healing process immediately. Check out Albert's amazing story here.

For all dogs, we recommend heartworm prevention due to the large and variable mosquito burden present in the tri-state. Consider ProHeart 12 or 6 to prevent deadly heartworms and costly treatment. Proheart is by far the superior choice for active families or pet owners. Extended-release Bravecto Chewable Flea/Tick protection provides peace of mind protection from external parasites. The HomeAgain Pet Recovery and TempScan Microchip system for your pet if you haven't already selected a microchip service yet—their recovery rate is superior. Peace of mind is well worth this one-time investment. What's more? Emerging technology has made it possible for us to take an instant body temperature by simply scanning your pet's microchip. While taking a rectal temperature is safe and easy, your pet will certainly thank you for allowing us to avoid that route.

Preventative Healthcare Plan Services For Dogs

Our progressive reputation has led us to where we are today with our Preventative Healthcare Plan Services. Gregg J. Gormley, DVM, our Medical Director was an experienced sole practitioner in 2001 and he partnered with Carol A. Gormley, RN—Our Practice Manager at the time and now our Hospital Administrator--to create the first veterinary “Wellness Program” in the Evansville, Indiana area which bundled discounted screening and rewarded our patients with over 100 medical, surgical and boarding service discounts PLUS free core vaccinations every year! An entire generation of dogs and cats have partners with Highland to prevent heartworms, and monitor wear and tear diseases and have enjoyed a lifetime of prevention against rabies, distemper virus, and more without paying a dime for the vaccine.

At the beginning of this program, Molly Welch was their head patient technician, and in 2005 Melissa Gormley was their lead CSR. Molly and Melissa have since gone on to become the Practice Manager (PM) of Finance and Operations, respectively. Each PM can confidently say that today they have learned a lot by evolving these programs and working with Dr. and Mrs. Gormley to continue to customize them and broaden them—always taking advantage of the latest progressive screening techniques, technologies, immunizations, and preventatives to offer a spectrum of customizable and affordable bundles and plans for their patients. We always ask if this were my best friend—what is within reach? What would I want to know and how would I want to improve my pet’s life?