Our old­est and dear­est furry friends

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - News -

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

com­pan­ions.

En­docrine dis­eases

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.

Obe­sity

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

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

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