What is it?
As your dog gets older, you may notice that they cannot walk so far, tire more easily, and are less able to jump in and out of the car, or climb the stairs. These are often due to underlying diseases such as arthritis, but may also be a natural consequence of old age.
Why is it important?
Quality of life is a very important consideration when caring for an older dog. We as vets have the privilege to end a pet’s life peacefully and painlessly when they are suffering from an illness which will prevents a good quality of life, or age related deterioration of joints mean that they can no longer get up and about as they would want to.
There are a number of problems that may need to be managed in older dogs:
This is the term given to age related degeneration of the joints, when the cartilage wears away and the body cannot replace it. Joint surfaces become roughened and the body tries to heal by laying down new bone, which further restricts joint movement.
These are some of the ways which we can help with pain caused by arthritis:
Many organs deteriorate with age, for example liver, kidneys, and heart.
Tumours of the spleen
Mammary tumours and pyometra
Reduction in sight and hearing
Sudden weight loss can be a sign of organ disease, such as kidney or liver problems, diabetes, or the development of a tumour.
Urinary and faecal incontinence
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
How can I protect my pet?
While old age is inevitable, the associated problems can often be managed more effectively if detected early. Regular vet checkups are therefore really important in the older dog!
Other top tips to help support them include...