Senior Dog Care

Senior Dog Care

At Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital, we love having the opportunity to give senior dogs the care and services they need to live a comfortable life and continue to age gracefully. And, while we understand that the experiences we gain from caring for older dogs can be incredibly rewarding, we also know how important their health is to the owners that have raised them. Our commitment to great communication and trust has allowed us to provide senior dog care for so many great clients in the Tulsa area and the pets they love. 

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Comprehensive Senior Care for Canines

As a dog ages, many physiological changes can occur and impact the quality of life that your pet has including changes in eyesight, arthritis, reduced hearing and other organ-specific complications. In many cases, these symptoms may not become noticeable until your dog becomes much older and, because they are so subtle, they may go unnoticed by their owner. For this reason, it is important to regularly seek preventative care and checkups for your dog to minimize suffering or prevent the progression of a variety of diseases that are common with age. 

As a veterinary hospital, our team can provide a wide range of health services for senior dogs no matter what age, breed or problems they may be facing. Our primary goal is to ensure that pet owners and their canine friends have access to the services they need most whenever they may be needed to help limit the chances of more severe consequences from occurring. Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital can perform any procedure from preventative care to medical diagnosis or emergency surgery. Some of the senior dog care services that we provide to Tulsa and surrounding area include: 

Vaccinations

Like younger dogs, senior dogs may have trouble tolerating a variety of vaccinations and each will need to be evaluated on an individual basis when deciding the right vaccine protocol. Since vaccination schedules can be unique, it is important to discuss options with your veterinarian to determine what is best for your senior dog.

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Parasite Treatment and Prevention

Even at an advanced age, senior dogs are still vulnerable to parasites, sometimes even more so than their younger counterparts. Unfortunately, senior dogs sometimes lose the ability to groom themselves and may not be able to show signs of distress when infected by ticks or fleas. Your veterinarian can help what dog parasite control program is best for your senior dog.

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Wellness Exams

Because many conditions develop gradually in senior dogs, it is important to establish regular wellness checks with your veterinarian to determine potential medical issues that may be developing. Early detection can ensure treatments are as effective as possible and your dog retains optimal health as they progress through the aging process. While care needs may vary, senior dogs should have wellness checks at least twice annually.

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Nutrition Planning

While canine nutrition is important at all stages of a dog’s life, making smart nutrition choices is critical for ensuring senior dog care remains effective. Many different factors can impact the appropriate food for your senior dog including their activity level or ability to assimilate proteins. Consulting with your veterinarian to determine the best food options can help mitigate potential diet-related problems that may occur.

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Dental Care

Periodontal disease is extremely common among senior dogs because it progresses slowly and often goes unnoticed by the pet owner until it is causing discomfort for their pet. The veterinary staff at Advanced Care Veterinary Clinic strives to diagnose and treat all dental diseases that may affect senior dogs to allow them to live out their golden years comfortably.

A dog getting its teeth brushed. This photo is unique for vet advertising and dog care products

Exercise Planning

When exercised daily throughout their life, many dogs tend to achieve better health both mentally and physically at a senior age. However, as the dog reaches an older age, the intensity and duration of exercise that they may need could change according to their overall level of fitness or how quickly they fatigue. Work with your veterinarian to determine the best exercise plan for your senior dog.

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Pain Management

Senior dogs often suffer from arthritis or other pain problems that may hinder their ability to be happy and healthy. Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital offers a range of services designed to assist your dog with pain management including laser therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture to further facilitate healing. We also can provide therapeutic exercise plans and medications to help your pet stay pain-free.

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Dealing with Senior Dog Health Problems

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Unlike puppies, senior dogs have specific care requirements. While this may not come as a surprise, pet owners must know how to care for their aging dog properly. While determining when your dog should be considered a “senior” can be a tricky process, it ultimately depends on the individual dog, their size and breed. For instance, larger dog breeds like Great Danes may have a shorter life span than a small Chihuahua and medium-sized dogs may fall somewhere between the two. But what should pet owners expect as their dog begins to reach senior ages? 

In many cases, dogs will begin to develop arthritis or other degenerative diseases that may cause them to slow down or tire more easily. Other signs that your dog is reaching senior age may include difficulty getting in or out of the care or finding a comfortable sleeping position. Any time these conditions begin to make themselves known, it is important to seek advice from your veterinarian to determine what treatment options or special accommodations may be needed to help them age happily and gracefully while still giving you years of continued companionship. 

As a full-service veterinary hospital, the team at Advanced Care is here to help ensure you have the support and resources needed to make the most of your time with your dog when they reach their senior years. From preventative care to specialized services, veterinary medicine has improved to help identify and manage health conditions quickly. If you are noticing signs that your dog may be experiencing discomfort or they are not eating like they once had, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with our friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Common Health Problems in Senior Dogs

Once a dog enters the last quarter of their lifespan, pet owners need to know what common health problems may affect them and the signs that they may be forming. Changes in behavior or appetite may signal a more serious underlying problem is present and obtaining regular examinations from your veterinarian can help detect problems before they are difficult or expensive to treat. Some common health problems in senior dogs that pet owners should watch for include:

Dental Disease

As one of the most diagnosed conditions among senior dogs, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss, extreme pain or allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and affect the organs. Dental treats, home brushing and regular dental treatments can help ensure the risk of dental disease is kept to a minimum.

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Osteoarthritis

Like humans, senior dogs will begin to experience arthritis with age as the cartilage protecting their joint surfaces begin to wear down. Although this cannot be reversed, many modern methods and medications can help reduce discomfort and the impact osteoarthritis has on a senior dog’s life.

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Obesity

Over 50% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, many times without their owner even realizing it. Unfortunately, obesity can lead to much more severe problems in senior dogs including diabetes, respiratory illness or joint disease. Your veterinarian can help develop a diet and exercise plan that can help restore a healthy weight.

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Cancer

Unfortunately, senior dogs are susceptible to many of the same cancer types seen in humans including melanoma, bone cancers and lymphoma. Although cancer can develop without warning, early detection and diagnosis are crucial for ensuring survival. Annual veterinary exams can help detect cancers and treat them before they spread or become a bigger issue.

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Hypothyroidism

For obese senior dogs that do not find relief through a vet-approved weight loss plan, hypothyroidism may result in a sluggish metabolism. However, in many cases, hypothyroidism can be detected and treated with medication by your veterinarian to help encourage weight loss.

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While only a small representation of the health problems that could potentially affect senior dogs, these are among the most common. By regularly monitoring the health of your pet for any changes that may signal a problem, you will be more likely to catch these problems early and treat them before they cause more damage. If you think your senior dog may be suffering from health problems, do not hesitate to reach out to Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment.

Why Choose Advanced Care for Senior Dog Care?

Advanced Care is more than just a primary care hospital. Our patients and clients are special to us and are the reason why we always treat everyone who comes to visit as another member of our family each and every time they walk in our doors. We do not treat every patient the same because we understand that each one requires individualized care and attention. 

Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital Hallway

Meet Our Doctors

Jennifer Patton
DVM, CVC, CCRT

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Dr. Patton’s decision to pursue veterinary medicine came after she realized that while education and teaching is her passion, it is not something she could do as a career. Veterinary medicine allowed her to combine her love of animals with her love of teaching.

After she graduated from Oklahoma State University with her Doctorate, she practiced in several high volume hospitals in the Tulsa area, developing medical skills with varied case loads and growing her leadership skills.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Jennifer Patton

Allissa Huckabay
DVM, CVA

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Dr. Huckabay’s love of science and animals naturally led her to a lifelong passion of veterinary medicine. She worked and volunteered at a local veterinary hospital before she furthered her education at Oklahoma State University, graduating in 2016 with her Doctorate.

Dr Huckabay immediately found her home at ACVH, where she is able to create a healthy bond with each of her patients as she experiences all stages of their care with their owners.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Alissa Huckabay

Matt Sellers
DVM

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Matthew Sellers, DVM is a graduate of Oklahoma State University Veterinary Health Sciences, where he also attended his undergraduate studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Agriculture through the College of Animal Science. Dr. Sellers was on the Dean's list and Presidents Honor Roll during his time at OSU. After a year of general practice, Dr. Sellers began studying acupuncture through the Chi Institute and completed the course in December of 2016.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Matt Sellers

Phillip Adolph
DVM

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Phillip Adolph, DVM is a graduate of Oklahoma State University Veterinary Health Sciences. He also attended OSU for his undergraduate studies where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Agriculture through the College of Animal Sciences. Dr. Adolph was on the President’s Honor Roll and was a member of the OSU jazz orchestra. He joined the Advanced Care team immediately upon his graduation in 2019 after doing 6 weeks of externships during his 4th year of veterinary school.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Phillip Adolph