Pets Are Living Longer

Mar 24, 2018

Sasha - a happy, healthy teenager!
Credit Mindy Norton

Our cat, Sasha, benefited from the expertise of a veterinary specialist who performed major surgery to remove many kidney stones.  Today she is doing just fine, thanks to a wonderful team of doctors - her local veterinarian who diagnosed the problem and the specialist who did such a great job with her surgery.


Veterinary medicine has made major advances in caring for our animal friends. In larger cities now you can find specialists who are available to assist your primary care vet with diagnostic services and targeted care in areas like ophthalmology, dentistry, dermatology, surgery, nutrition and even sports medicine for pets. The specialists don’t take the place of your regular veterinarian, but supplement the care your vet provides.

Our cat was diagnosed with multiple kidney stones. Her doctor recommended an intricate surgery, and referred us to a specialty clinic that routinely did such procedures. After the surgery, she had follow-up visits with her regular vet and is doing very well.

With all the technological advances in the field of veterinary medicine, you might expect pets to live longer nowadays – and many of them do. Enough pets are living on into old age to create a need for veterinary specialists in areas like gerontology.

You may wonder what this means for your pet’s life expectancy. Like humans, heredity and life style both play a part. Large dogs generally don’t live as long as smaller dogs. An indoor cat will live about five times longer than one that lives outside all the time. A parakeet may live about seven years, while a cockatiel can reach age 20-plus. A large parrot has a life expectancy of 50 years or more.

One thing that can have significant impact on an animal’s life expectancy is the care it receives. A healthy diet, exercise, annual checkups, dental care, vaccinations, and treatment for issues that arise can help to keep your pet healthy and active for as long as possible. And while you’re visiting the vet, arrange to have your pet spayed or neutered. The greatest cause of pet deaths in this country is not illness or disease – it’s euthanasia due to pet overpopulation.

By preventing the birth of unwanted litters, you can help reduce the problem of too many pets and not enough homes. Plus, spaying or neutering can contribute to helping your pet live longer and be healthier – which is a great benefit for you - and your best friend, when you’re speaking of pets.