As your pet starts to get older you will start slowly seeing changes. Any pet age 7 and older is considered a "Senior Pet".
Arthritis in your pet
Did you know that just like humans, pets can also get Arthritis?! Its not only dogs either! Cats can get Arthritis as well! They just mask the discomfort better. Some signs you may see in your Canine friends may include but are not limited to:
- Loss of Appetite. This is one of the most common symptoms of Arthritis
- Your dog just cant get comfortable
- They have difficulty moving well, Limping, Trembling, or moving slowly when they first get up
- They cry out in pain
With Cats you may see:
- Stiffness, Joint Swelling, Lethargy, Lameness, and discomfort when being handled
- Decreased activity
- Lapsed Litter Box Habits (this can be due to pain when they get in and out of the Litter Box)
- Hesitancy to run, jump, or climb stairs
Although there is no cure for Arthritis, there are ways to help minimize your pets pain while still keeping them Healthy. We highly suggest talking to your Veterinarian. They can prescribe medications and supplements that will help ease the discomfort. We would also like to keep your pet at a healthy weight. If your pet is overweight this can cause stress on their joints, which in turn can cause more pain and discomfort. With dogs we suggest getting a bit of exercise. This does not mean running all day, a nice walk everyday and a good pace is efficient enough. You can also do heat therapy (heating pads) on your dog. This is especially helpful in the colder months.
Changes in your Senior Pet
Change in the eyes
You may notice your dog start having cloudy or bluish eyes. They often show this bluish transparent "haze" in the pupil area of the eye. This is a normal effect of aging. The medical term for this is Nuclear Sclerosis (Cataracts). Cataracts can be surgically removed. In cats you may notice that they have a thinning of the iris (Iris Atrophy). Cats with lighter eyes may become more sensitive to light.
It may be harder to wake your pet up by calling them, or they can become easily startled if someone approaches them from behind. There is not a lot that can be done for age-related hearing loss or deafness in your pet. We do suggest bringing your pet to your Veterinarian so that they can first rule out other medical issues such as infection, ear growths, or a foreign body in the ear. If you notice your pet having any hearing loss, it is very important for you to start protecting them from hazards and teaching your family to do the same. They arent going to hear the car coming down the road as well, or your children may startle them. Dogs do very well with hand signals. It is very important to teach them and your family.
Lumps and Bumps
If you start to notice your pet getting a lump or a bump on their body please call your Vet. We highly suggest monitoring these, especially when your pet becomes older, because they can change so quickly. Some of the things we want you to monitor are changes in size, texture of the growth, and color. Please inform your vet or make an appointment when you notice these so we can help monitor and keep records of any changes.
Urine Output and Water Intake
Just because your pet is getting older does NOT mean that they should start drinking more water. There are common causes for increased water intake and they can be extremely serious. Diabetes or Kidney Issues are two of the main things that can cause increased thirst. It is very important to consult your Vet if you notice this. Urine leakage or "Accidents" in the house can also signal a problem, whether it be infection, loss of Sphincter Control, or another underlying disease.
Weight and Appetite
Any time you notice your pet losing or gaining a substantial amount of weight your Veterinarian should be notified. This is important because it can indicate potential Thyroid issues among other things. If you notice your pets eating habits changing please bring them in for an exam. There is a reason they arent wanting to eat. Here at the Clinic we offer a certain food for Senior Pets. Our Active Longevity food will help your pet obtain the Vitamins and Minerals necessary to help with their health!
As your pets age we suggest doing a Senior Blood Panel at least once a year. This will help ensure that your pets Kidney and Liver Enzymes, among other things, are continuing to function correctly.
Previous Page: Vaccinations | Next Page: Pet Dentistry