Signs of Change in Your Aging Pet – Health Care for a Longer and Better Quality of Life- FEB 28, 2019
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Signs of Change in Your Aging Pet – Health Care for a Longer and Better Quality of Life. What can be done to help your pet live longer and enjoy the best quality of life possible? These are some signs to look for and recommendations for optimal health care.
Changes typically start to become noticeable when a dog becomes seven years old. It’s not necessarily old age in all cases, but a step in that direction.
for preventing and detecting
in your pet’s life.
Skin: Moles and tumors start to appear. They might be benign, or they may be malignant. It’s always advisable to consult your veterinarian. In some cases, it’s better to remove the skin growth to take a sample for a biopsy or cytology testing, and other times to just leave it and monitor.
Eyes: Any change in the color or brightness of your pet’s eyes should be brought to your vet’s attention. An ophthalmologist might also be consulted if necessary. Cataracts are a common occurrence, and if diagnosed early, the vision loss can be minimized or eradicated with surgery.
Other age-related conditions in your pet may be less visible and harder to detect. Again, regular visits to your veterinarian are recommended for the following kinds of health assessments.
Blood work: In this geographic area, a complete blood test and a SNAP test (for heartworm and other vector-borne diseases) are recommended for all pets at least once a year.
Blood chemistry: Your vet might also conduct more extensive blood chemistry analysis, including kidney and liver enzymes. This can make an important difference in determining at an early stage if your pet will need a change in diet to increase his life expectancy. In our practice, it is not uncommon for asymptomatic dogs to be diagnosed with liver failure in early stages.
X-rays: It is common for older pets to develop arthritis, which can be detected and monitored with x-rays. Many types of food supplements are available to give animals with arthritis a better quality of life and more years with us.
Ultrasound: In our area, where water has a high mineral content, we strongly recommend an annual ultrasound test. Our biggest concern is bladder stones, found most often in male cats and dogs. Many cases become emergencies when a blockage occurs and might require surgery. This can often be avoided through early detection and prophylactic treatment. Another veterinary concern is the increased incidence of spleen tumors. They usually grow like a bag of blood and sooner or later might rupture, causing internal hemorrhage. The spleen can be safely removed and, with proper care, can prolong your pet’s life.
These are recommendations for preventing and detecting diseases early in your pet’s life. Prophylactic treatment can keep your family member healthier while increasing their life expectancy. Not everything has to be checked out at once, but knowing what to look for — and when — will give you the best view of your furry friend’s health condition.
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