Caring for the health of your pets in their later years
There are many health problems that affect our older pets. A lot of owners attribute these to ‘getting old’. However getting old is not a disease. Many conditions that affect older animals such as those mentioned below, may be preventable, treatable or managed to improve quality of life and life expectancy.
Often the earlier these conditions are diagnosed and a treatment plan implemented, the longer your pet will live in comfort. We often define a senior dog from around 8 years of age and cats from 10 years.
Conditions that commonly affect older animals include;
- Arthritis – is an extremely common cause of chronic pain in both dogs and cats. Unfortunately many animals do not receive an adequate level of treatment for their arthritic conditions.
- Liver and kidney disease – Kidney disease is the most common cause of weight loss and chronic ill health in cats. Liver problems are a common cause of general ill health in dogs.
- Thyroid problems – hyperthyroidism is a common cause of weight loss and heart failure in older cats. Treatment is simple and very effective
- Heart disease – congestive heart failure can cause collapse, chronic coughing and poor exercise tolerance in both dogs and cats
- Urinary incontinence – a common complaint in female dogs which is generally easy to treat.
- Old age ‘senility’ – changes in toileting habits, behavioural patterns, barking, disorientation, blindness and deafness can all be signs of an old age cognitive disorder.
- Cancer – as with humans, is common. There are many different conditions, which may be treated if identified early.
- Dental disease – as well as causing oral pain and halitosis, bacterial overgrowth in the mouth associated with dental disease can lead to blood born infections which can affect systemic health.
- Obesity – obesity can cause poor exercise tolerance, increase the risk of many diseases such as diabetes and arthritis, as well as exacerbating respiratory problems. Weight loss can dramatically improve an overweight pet’s quality of life.
Regular health checks are vital for early detection of these conditions, allowing quality of life and survival times to be maximised. We will often recommend a geriatric blood profile and urine sample at the time to help identify some of the above conditions. Please contact BRVC to arrange a senior health check.