Animal Ark Veterinary Centre

24 Hour On-Site Care & Emergency Service

020 8599 8544


Book Appointment

Article

Senior Pet Focus

Posted by Linnaeus Marketing in News | Article permalink on Sep 11 2020

As we age, we begin to experience certain health conditions that are linked to getting older. The same is true for our pets; the only difference being that they are unable to tell us if they are not feeling well. That’s why it is important to be looking out for any signs and symptoms that could highlight that something isn’t quite right.

Below we focus on several of the most common conditions that might affect our senior pets and what this means for both you and them:

Arthritis in dogs
In older pets, the years of wear and tear on the joints can cause them to become inflamed – resulting in movement becoming sore and difficult. Osteoarthritis, or arthritis as we commonly know it, is usually prevalent in the hips, elbows and knees, but can appear in any joint.

What are the symptoms?

  • General slowing down, especially on walks
  • Reluctance to play, jump or go upstairs
  • Limping/lameness
  • Muscle wastage
  • Licking or chewing the skin over affected joints
  • Stiff walking motion (especially when waking up or after exercise)

How is it treated?

Through a range or combination of:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Weight management & diet
  • Complimentary treatments such as physio or hydrotherapy
  • General surgical solutions
  • New therapies such as Stem Cell treatment

What can I do to help?

  • Monitor your dog’s weight – losing only a small amount of their body weight can improve their condition
  • Ensuring they still exercise; little and often tends to work best!
  • Use ramps for getting in cars and up the stairs and a thick, comfy bed for their sleep to help their joints

Kidney disease
Your pet relies on its kidneys to perform important tasks such as removing toxins from the blood, preventing water loss and regulating blood pressure and acidity levels. When they are not able to perform these tasks properly, this condition is known as kidney failure (or renal disease). Age can be a factor in developing kidney disease, with symptoms and severity differing greatly between cases.

What are the symptoms?

  • Excessive drinking leading to frequent urinating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Sudden blindness due to high blood pressure

How is it treated?

  • Specially formulated or individually tailored diets following advice from your vet
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Variety of medication
  • Fluid therapy to reduce dehydration
  • Kidney dialysis (when all other options are exhausted)

What can I do to help?

  • Ensure your pet has a balanced diet providing your pet with the required nutrients
  • Keep vaccinations up to date.
  • Regularly check your pet for signs and always have their annual health check at the vets.

High blood pressure in cats
Although high blood pressure can occur on its own, the commonest causes are kidney, heart and thyroid disease. As the body is working harder to circulate blood, this can lead to complications with the kidneys, eyes, heart and even the brain.

What are the symptoms?

  • Blindness
  • Weight loss
  • Noticeable changes inside the eye, including bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Change in personality

How is it treated?

  • Drugs/medication to lower blood pressure
  • Prescribing a low salt diet
  • Regular check-ups at the vets to monitor the condition

What can I do to help?

  • Reduce the amount of salt in your cat’s diet (refrain from giving them cat treats or tuna in brine)

In all cases, it is important to ensure that your pet has regular check-ups with us. If you are concerned that your pet may be showing any signs or symptoms mentioned above, then please contact us immediately for advice.