When Should You Visit the Vet for Senior Dog Health?

Senior dog outdoors

Senior dogs may experience several problems that require immediate treatment. Early recognition of clinical symptoms should enable prompt diagnosis and effective therapy. Around the age of seven, a dog is regarded as senior. You might anticipate certain behavioral and physical changes at this period. They occasionally have hearing loss, visual problems, and even dementia. To ensure that these changes aren't hurting your senior dog's general health, it is advised that they visit their veterinarian at least twice a year.

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, another name for arthritis, is a degenerative condition that affects the joints. Over one year old dogs in North America suffer osteoarthritis in about 20% of cases. Lameness is the most typical symptom in older dogs. After periods of rest, stiffness is typical, but it can become better as the dog warms up. To assist diagnose arthritis, your veterinarian may suggest lab testing and radiographs. Pain management, surgery, physical therapy, joint supplements, cold and heat therapy, and muscle toning and strengthening are among the available treatments.

Dental Disease

Dogs older than three have active dental disease in 80% of cases. Few canines exhibit overt symptoms of dental disease. The dog's owner and veterinarian are responsible for identifying this frequently painful ailment. In older canines, dental disease is fairly prevalent. Pay attention if you have drooling, foul breath, or a reduction in appetite. Tartar accumulation and gum irritation may be seen during an examination. In order to determine the severity of dental disease, dental radiographs may be required. Professional dental cleanings, extraction of bad teeth, removal and/or biopsy of oral growths, antibiotics, and pain management are among possible treatments.

Kidney Failure

The kidneys perform a variety of functions, including as regulating blood pressure, removing toxins, balancing calcium, phosphorus, pH, and electrolytes, and conserving water. A pet whose kidney function is compromised may have trouble concentrating urine and will require more water to process the body's waste products.

A dog typically drinks one cup of water for every 10 pounds of body weight. The majority of owners might not regularly monitor their dog's water intake. It might not be obvious there is a problem until your older dog starts making regular excursions to the water bowl. Lab tests are used to identify kidney failure. This state cannot be reversed. The purpose of treatment is to slow the illness. Depending on the disease's severity and course, there are many treatment options, including fluid therapy, food therapy, and vitamins. An emergency blood transfusion can be required.

Diabetes Mellitus

A lack of insulin in the body results in diabetes mellitus. To eliminate glucose (sugar) from the circulation, insulin is required. There is a buildup of glucose when it is low or missing. The kidneys normally keep the bloodstream's glucose in check, but when they are stressed, a lot of it leaks into the urine. Water is drawn to glucose, which eventually increases thirst and urine.

Diabetes and renal failure both have early clinical indications that might be inconspicuous. A senior dog may have increased hunger and weight loss in addition to increased water consumption and urine production. Blood tests and urinalysis are used to diagnose diabetes mellitus (examination of the urine). After a diagnosis, your pet's veterinarian will go over possible treatments, some of which may involve insulin injections. There are also diets on prescription.

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Congestive Heart Failure

The clinical state of fluid retention brought on by severe is known as congestive heart failure (CHF). In older dogs, this ailment is fairly prevalent. Owners might at first mention a cough. Other clinical symptoms include be reduced appetite, abdominal swelling, and shortness of breath, particularly when resting. Your pet's doctor could hear a cardiac murmur, as well as an accelerated heartbeat and breathing rate. To diagnose CHF, radiographs and occasionally a heart ultrasound are required. Treatment focuses on both the underlying cardiac condition and, if present, the fluid buildup. Medication, surgery (if necessary), manual fluid evacuation, and surgery are all possible treatments. There are also diets on prescription. The prognosis is determined by the underlying illness.

CITATION

"Senior pet care FAQ. American Veterinary Medical Association. ", "Anderson, Katharine L et al. Risk Factors for Canine Osteoarthritis and Its Predisposing Arthropathies: A Systematic ReviewFrontiers in veterinary science vol. 7 220. 28 Apr. 2020, doi:10.3389/fvets.2020.00220", "Dental Disease in Dogs. VCA Hospitals.", "Dunaevich, Asia et al. Acute on chronic kidney disease in dogs: Etiology, clinical and clinicopathologic findings, prognostic markers, and survivalJournal of veterinary internal medicine vol. 34,6 (2020): 2507-2515. doi:10.1111/jvim.15931", "Diabetes in Pets. American Veterinary Medical Association.", "Heartsmart: Information on pets with heart disease. Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.", "Neilson JC, Hart BL, Cliff KD, Ruehl WW. Prevalence of behavioral changes associated with age-related cognitive impairment in dogs. JAVMA 2001;218(11):1787-1791." ;

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