As we humans get older, we all know the golden rules for living longer – regular health check-ups, sensible diet and moderate exercise. The same applies to our pets, in particular dogs and cats, if they also are to enjoy a longer life.
First and foremost, our pets need a diet tailored to their age to maintain good kidney and cardiac health. It must have reduced salt and phosphorus content and the correct level of protiens and other nutrients. The best way to ensure this is to feed them good quality prepared dried food labelled ‘for senior animals’.
Dogs with arthritis exhibita stiff, stilted gait and show an exaggerated swinging of their hips as they walk, some will yelp in pain when touched. Cats have problems grooming themselves and look untidy. They walk with stilted, stiff back leg movements and often have difficulty using their litter tray accuratley as thye cannot squat when toileting.
Your veterinarian is likely to use medication to reduce the pain and to give your pet back some quality of life. For dogs, combine this with careful, moderate exercise such as swimming and walking and keep your pet’s weight in check.
Pets and Cancer
Early diagnostic is critical. Not all cancers are dangerous. Benign cancers are usually not life-threatening, don’t spread and can usually be removed safely and easily. Other cancers can be treated by surgical means, with chemotherapy or with radiation.
Maladies of Mature Moggies
There are three dieases that can cause the majority of illnesses in older cats – hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease.
Occurs when the thyroid gland of cats enlarges and produces excess thyroid hormone. Amongst the most common abnormalities are a gradual reduction in weight and an increase in water intake and, therefore, in urine output. Vomiting is seen quite often, as is lethargy. However, some cats are hyperactive and annoyingly restless. Some cats wit Hyperthyroidism eat excessively but still lose weight. Your veterinarian will advise on the treatment needed.
Is cause either by a failure of the pancreas to produce insulin or by the body not responding in the normal way to insulin that is present. As well as increased urine output, and weight loss, affected cats also become lethargic and depressed and they can develop and unusual gait. Your veterinarian is likely to advise the feeding of a perscription diet food to help regulate glucose production. In advanced cases, the cat can collapse. This is due to a condition called ketoacidosis and occurs when the cat is digesting its own fat reserves. The blood becomes acidic and this threatens the cat’s life. This is an emergency and your veterinarian should be consulted without delay.
Specifically chronic renal failure, is quite common in older cats. Cats with this condition will lose weight, will drink increased amounts of water and will produce large amounts of urine. These signs are similar to hyperthyroidism and diabetes but your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition with a thorough examination and blood tests. The golden rule for good health and long life for both ourselves and our pets is to have regular veterinary check-ups. For senior pets (around seven years of age) it is recommended to have 6 monthly health checks.