Old age catches up with everyone – even our cats and dogs and other pets.
Special care requirements are often necessary to ensure the health and well-being of these elderly animals. Old age is not to be regarded as a disease, but as a natural process.
Just because your pet is old, does not mean it is normal for it to look unwell.
Learn to recognize the signs of old age, these may include impaired vision and hearing. For example, extra care is needed so you don’t startle animals with a hearing impairment, especially when they are asleep.
Vision impaired animals may not want to be taken new places for fear of the unknown and bumping into objects. If you see signs of your animal developing vision problems have them checked out by your vet. It is possible they may be able to be successfully treated for cataracts.
Older cats and dogs especially, are prone to cardiac disease. You can spot signs such as coughing, irregular breathing, or a reluctance to exercise that might indicate cardiac problems.
Gum disease is a common complaint amongst the elderly. Look for the obvious signs of dental ill health, including bad breath, drooling, pawing at the mouth, and no interesting in eating food that needs chewing. Again, many dental problems are treatable.
Arthritis is more obvious in dogs, as cats tend to just withdraw and become less sociable. If your pet loses its spring, and doesn’t venture off the floor, or loses interest in exercise then book them a vet inspection. Medication can help relieve arthritic pain and make your pets twilight years a lot more comfortable.
Cats are less likely to develop cataracts, but there are problems that tend to be more cat specific. Kidney failure is one problem common amongst elderly cats. Drinking lots, loss of weight, depression, and vomiting are signs that may indicate a kidney problem in your cat. Kidney problems may also occur in younger cats as a result of infection or tumors.
You may not know what hyperthyroidism is, but you may recognize its symptoms in your elderly cat. These symptoms include long claws, becoming very thin while maintaining a healthy apatite, and becoming shaky and more vocal. Once again there are treatments available to help in this situation.
Elderly pets have different requirements, but this doesn’t mean they can’t have a good quality of life. Just remember they will require more sleep, a slower pace of life, and regular health checks. But they are the same loyal pets that have shared in your family life for many years.
[Source: Dr Elsa Flint Pet]