Our oldest and dearest furry friends
AS our animals age, just like with any other family member, there are health issues that arise, from common aches and pains, to more serious conditions such as heart disease.
To keep on top of these concerns, and make sure that your pet remains happy and comfortable, it is important to visit your vet for annual health checks (part of annual vaccinations) to ensure health problems are identified and treated in a timely manner, before they start to severely impact on your pet’s quality of life.
Some age-related conditions include: Arthritis
Most dogs and cats over the age of eight will have some form of arthritis.
It is a lot easier to identify early signs of arthritis in dogs than cats.
Signs in dogs can include reluctance to walk/run as far, difficultly going up and down stairs, muscle wasting, taking longer to get out of bed in the
morning and of course obvious lameness.
Cats can be curious creatures, and signs of arthritis can be as subtle as a decrease in activity or seeming a bit ‘grumpy’ when touched or picked up.
There are many medications and joint supplements that are available to help ease the pain of arthritis in our feline and canine
Endocrine diseases such as Cushing’s Disease, diabetes and hyperthyroidism are also very common in older animals.
Cushing’s disease is a disease of older small breed dogs.
Signs include a pot belly, excessive drinking and urination, ravenous appetite, hair loss, coat changes and panting.
Diagnosis and treatment requires hormonal tests, to ensure medication dosage is accurate and as safe as possible.
Overweight or obese cats are prone to developing type-2, or insulin resistant, diabetes.
Dogs tend to develop type1, insulin deficient, diabetes, whereby the cells in the pancreas
that produce insulin are damaged and the body can no longer make insulin.
Both types are managed with a balanced diet and twice daily insulin injections.
Your vet will work with you to make these changes in your petcare as easy as possible to manage.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease of older cats.
Signs include hyperactivity, weight loss in the face of a
ravenous appetite, unkempt coat and excessive water intake and urination.
Other diseases that occur commonly in older animals include heart disease/heart failure, renal failure, and cancer.
Your vet is there to help make your pet care as easy and stressfree as possible.
Whether your pet is showing signs of discomfort or you would just like some advice, they are a great source of knowledge and support.
Your clinic wants to help ensure your older pet is in the best form they can be in their senior years, just like you do.
Dr Meagan Lee, Ovens and Kiewa Veterinary Hospital