Feb 28 2015

Senior Pets

Senior dogs and changes with age:

Senior dogs are the best. They know you well, you know them well, they are smart and seasoned and worth their weight in gold. They’re also worth special care to keep them well and happy for as long as possible.

In dogs, orthopedic issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia are very common especially in medium to large breed dogs. Decrease eye sight and marble glow in their eyes are also very common in older dogs. Senior dogs are the most prone dogs to cancers, so have any lumps or other symptoms checked promptly. Many cancers can be cured if caught early. Sometimes treatment can provide a normal lifespan or nearly so. Usually there are ways to relieve pain and other symptoms at least for a while. Any way you look at it, you need to know as early in the course of the cancer as possible. Heart, kidney and dental disease, hypothyroidism could also be concerning disease in older dogs.

Senior cats and changes with age:

A cat’s health changes with age. Physical and mental changes occur, just as they do with people. Older cats sleep more than they did when young and they usually sleep more deeply. They may not be able to jump quite as high. However, it’s a mistake to assume that slowing down is just age. It’s entirely possible that there’s a treatable medical condition behind not wanting to play or to be petted. If you see a sudden slow down, it’s definitely time to see the veterinarian. But remember, even a gradual change can be caused by a medical issue. Hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, arthritis, dental disease, hypertension and intestinal cancer are the most common diseases of older cats.

When is Time to visit the veterinarian?

Majority of the senior pet’s disease and problems are preventable if they are being diagnosed on time, not when patient has shown the symptoms for a while. If your pet’s eating, drinking, bathroom and grooming habits have changed; it is the time to visit the veterinarian’s office. If your pet is acting arthritic and slow or if you notice an unusual lump or odor, then your pet is overdue for a visit. If your cat is losing weight despite a good appetite, she or he could suffer from hyperthyroidism, kidney failure or intestinal disease. A simple blood work and x-rays can help to diagnose and prevent majority of these disease. Blood work and regular checkups are recommended when your pet turns 7 years old. (In large breed dogs, when they turn 5)

What is new?

With today’s technology we can help our pets to have a painless and comfortable senior stage. Anti-inflammatory medications, joint diets (veterinary formulated and researched), acupuncture, and laser therapy are few therapeutic methods to resolve arthritis pain in older pets.  Nowadays we can control most of the old age diseases with special diets prescribed by veterinarians.

ddaley | From Dr. Nassi's Desk

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