Caring for Older Dogs – Things to Know

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Pets are living longer due to advances in veterinary care, diagnostics, and prior intervention. Even so, the secret to loving our “elderly” pets lies not merely in raising their life span but also in helping them enjoy their later years to the fullest. Just like people, cats and dogs can be exposed to incapacitating health conditions as they grow older. Kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, oral disease, malignant tumors, and cognitive impairment can happen during the typical maturing process. In earlier times, simply because quite a couple of health conditions weren’t recognized before the pet was in the advanced phases, veterinarians can do simply create a furry friend’s golden years a tad bit more comfy by caring for the indicators of age-related health issues.  If the pet was blessed, the difficulties could progress gradually. Most pet owners merely accepted the fact their budding buddies were just able to endure a relatively brief life, get old, and pass on. Nevertheless discoveries in technical progress in modern-day veterinary medicine, surgery, diagnostics, and nutrition, not only do pets survive longer but their quality of life has improved enormously as well.

One example follows human medicine in the development and usage of this new generation of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. Because our older pets often develop arthritis and joint disorder, these newer drugs help alleviate the pains and aches of many senior pets while retaining unwanted side effects to a minimum. Chondroitin and glucosamine supplements also appear to help elderly dogs with their arthritis. Advanced veterinary technology comprises MRIs, cat scans, radiation therapies, chemotherapy, advanced surgery with laser scalpels, laparoscopy, hip replacements, orthodontics, root canals, crowns, and much more. Physical therapy, water heaters, and even acupuncture can help pets recover from surgeries and gain freedom faster. More and more veterinarians are pursuing specialization practices to deal with the requirements of those pets whose owners want the very best treatment available. Learn more here.

Several age-related problems will nevertheless be seen as inevitable, however, the attitudes of both veterinarians and pet owners have shifted. The belief now is that the simple fact that “age is not a disease”, and veterinary medicine is incorporating greater emphasis on senior pet health through preventative health plans.

The sooner we can detect a problem, the more inclined we could handle or even correct the problem. Advances in oncology now make chemotherapy and radiation treatment almost a normal course of therapy for pets who have cancer. By treating the dental disease early on, you can extend your pet’s life span by almost 3 years. Cats with renal failure can benefit from lots of the more recent drugs released and fluid therapy to assist them to reduce the build-up toxins that their kidneys can’t flush out. You can find even drugs that can help with cognitive dysfunction in dogs. These dogs seem to get “lost” or complain for no reason. There are specialists that can even remove cataracts so that your pet will not go blind.

At what age is a pet considered a senior? Life crosses vary with individuals, and pets, like people, grow elderly at different rates, some more gracefully than others. Some smaller breeds of dogs, like Bones, are considered geriatric at fifteen. Large and giant breeds such as Labrador retrievers and rottweilers are believed elders when seven years old. Cats, especially if they’re stored at the home, often live to their early twenties and don’t reach their golden years before their teens.

As pets age, these examinations tend to be more crucial than ever, because as with individuals, quick detection is essential for disease and problem intervention. Younger pets need routine examinations once or twice annually. However, as dogs and cats approach middle age, these examinations should be much more common because each year in a pet’s life is equivalent to 5-7 people years.

To detect potential health problems earlier, veterinarians recommend routine lab work, electrocardiograms, blood pressure monitoring, and x-rays to detect early ailments like thyroid, kidney, liver, heart, and liver disorders. With early detection, pets with organ function requirements can be treated with prescription medication along with specific physician-prescribed grade diets which not only prolong their life span but the quality of the lives. From time to time, health conditions could even be reversed.

Generally, several early warning signals Your family pet could be having a problem with are:

  • drinking more water than usual and urination
  • urinary incontinence or having accidents from the house
  • recurring throwing up
  • terrible breath, drooling, or problem eating
  • excessive panting or tires quickly when exercised
  • lumps, bumps, nodules, or alterations in areas of skin color, lumps that bleed or are ulcerated
  • shift in desire – ingesting more or less than ordinary
  • changes in behavior for example “spacing out” or raised whining
  • strange bowel habits – diarrhea or constipation
  • changes in body weight – reducing or gaining weight

See pets closely and communicate any strange behavioral or physical problems to your vet without delay. Veterinarians also recommend purchasing pet insurance so that if issues are detected in your pet, you will have the ability to afford the advanced therapies which are readily available. Speak with your vet and develop a particular senior wellness strategy for your pet’s unique needs for your prized pooch or kitty who may enjoy getting old gracefully.

Is your pet experiencing any behaviors or symptoms you’re worried about? Get in touch with us right away, or the after-hours emergency animal hospitals listed above.

Our trusted and compassionate staff at Montecito Animal Hospital offers veterinary care for pets in most emergencies. Animals are our passion, we take pride in providing quality medical care when your pet needs it most.

At Montecito Pet Hospital, it is possible to discover urgent veterinary care for your dog or cat during our regular clinic hours. Check this page for more details.