CELEBRATING SENIORS: THE SENIOR SPOTLIGHT
Did you know on average pets age much more quickly than us?
Some signs of aging seem readily apparent- such as graying of the muzzle and slowed activity. Other signs of aging are more subtle. Most of these changes are gradual and it takes a watchful eye to recognize early changes. Just as it is important that we see the doctor more often as we age it is also important for our pets. Twice yearly exams are recommended as our pets get older. A comprehensive physical exam can note any changes such as heart murmur, dental disease, lumps and bumps, etc. Annual senior labwork helps identify any metabolic abnormalities. By working together with your veterinarian it is possible to ensure your pet enjoys the best quality of life possible throughout their golden years.
Would you be able to recognize signs of pain or illness in your pet? Below are some common age related diseases and compromising medical conditions.
- Decreased activity
- Less interaction with family members
- Less enthusiastic greeting behavior
- Sleeping more, sleeping during the day, and staying awake at night
- Disorientation, confusion, getting lost in the house or yard
- Less responsive to verbal cues or name
- Excessive barking/meowing or whimpering for no apparent reason
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Changes in appearance (skin, coat, or muscle tone)
- Changes in eating or drinking habits
- Increased urination
- Loss of house training/litter box training
- Limping or stiffness of gait
- Poor vision or difficulty hearing
- Dental problems (offensive breath)
- Increase in infections
- Digestive problems (increased episodes of vomiting or diarrhea)
- New lumps or bumps
5 Tips to Keep Your Old Dog Young at Heart great tips from Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Lisa Radosta on keep your senior dog active!
Arthritis In Our Pets click on Deer Run Animal Hospital's web page on arthritis. Learn some of the causes, how to minimize and how to treat it with multi-modal options!
FAQS about Caring for Older Pets from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
Arthritic Dog Products This article from VIN's Veterinary Partner Collection introduces you to new and innovative products to assist our arthritic pets continue to lead quality lives and improve their mobility.
Puppy Treads! Help for a dog who has problems walking on slick floors!!
Help Me Up Dog Harness A great dog lifting mobility harness to add dogs with severe arthritis and hip dysplasia and other motility problems.
COGNITIVE DECLINE OR DEMENTIA is not considered a normal aging change, although its occurrence does increase with advanced age. Animals with decline in multiple cognitive aspects, in the absence of medical disease to explain this decline, are considered to have cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
What Does Cognitive Dysfunction Look Like? From the Eileenanddogs.com blog, some nice photos and a video clip on what the behaviors of cognitive dysfunction look like. Also witness this dog trainer bloggers optimistic outlook on life with a cognitive dysfunction dog. It's a sweet and precious time!
Dogs & Dementia: What You Need To Know Also from Eileenanddogs, her blog on Canine Dementia on Squidoo. Skip the adds and scroll to the bottom of the blog for some great tips for caring for older dogs and some more links to great topics about caring for older dogs from Eileen.
Caring for an Older Dog: Treating Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Great tips from the Whole Dog Journal and ways to help keep the aging canine brain sharp!
Night Time Waking in Senior Dogs a common problem in older dogs
Cognitive Dysfunction in Aging Pets from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Indoor Pet Initiative, learn more about this alzheimers like syndrome in our pets.
Dr. Radosta's Cognitive Dysfunction Checklist Dr. Radosta is a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist in Florida. She has developed a checklist of symptoms to help determine if a pet has cognitive dysfunction of dementia.
Novifit is a nutraceutical product used as a first line treatment of behavioral problems related to brain aging in dogs and cats; such as disorientation, changes in social interactions with people and other pets, changes in sleep-wake cycle and loss of housetraining skills. Click these links for more resources and information on this product and brain aging in pets. VIRBAC Senior Pet Brochure
Senilife is another nutraceutical product with anti-oxidant and other benefits to help support brain function. This product is being recommended by some of the top veterinary behaviorist specialists in the country. It is showing much promise in decreasing cognitive decline in older pets.
Anipryl: A Drug used for Cognitive Dysfunction in Dogs Anipryl (or Selegiline) is a prescription drug that can be used in the treatment of cognitive dysfuntion. Click here to learn more. Anipryl can have some interactions with other drugs that might be in use in the older dog such as Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) used for urinary incontinence, or other behavior modifying drugs, or with products such as tick collars that contain Amitraz
Hill's Prescription Diet b/d Did you know that there are actually some diets that can help with the symptoms of brain aging in our dogs! Veterinary Behavior specialists are now finding positive results with these diets. Click this link to learn more about a new diet that can help! Although Purina Veterinary Diet EN is primarily a gastrointestinal diet, veterinary behavior specialists are now recognizing its ability to also support brain aging in dogs.
Kidney Disease is a common ailment of the older cat or dog. Visit Deer Run Animal Hospital's Kidney Disease web page to learn how this disease is diagnosed and treated.
Hyperthyroidism is a very common disorder of the senior cat. The two links below will discuss this geriatric condition and how to manage it.
Cornell's Fact Sheet On Feline Hyperthyroidism Learn the signs and symptoms as well as treatment for this extremely common condition of aging cats at this fact Sheet on Feline Hyperthyroidism from the Feline Health Center at Cornell University.
VIN's Feline Hyperthyroid Center This links you to a collection of articles from VIN's VeterinaryPartner Pet Library on Hyperthyroidism; the disease, its diagnosis, and treatment options.
Special Needs of Senior Cats An informative article from the Cornell Feline Health Center
Friends for Life: Caring for the Older Cat The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) provides this great care guide to help owner's of senior cats.
Feline Life Stage Guidelines from the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)
Feline Senior Guidelines Guidelines from the AAFP for the health management of Senior Cats.
Although we never ever want to lose our beloved pets, there often comes a time where we may face a tough decision regarding euthanasia. Above all we do not want our pets to have to struggle or suffer. Clients often ask us how will they know when will it be time to consider euthanasia. This link to information form the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) may help answer the question, Pet Euthanasia: How do I know when it's time
How to Know When It's Time to Euthanize Your Pet An insightful article to guide pet owners in this difficult decision.
Goodbye and Beyond A Workbook for those enduring the loss of a companion animal. This helpful workbook comes from Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, one of our referral centers.
"Lap of Love" Client Information Sheets on Common Diseases of Senior Pets These information sheets can help pet families to understand common diseases that affect senior pets and that often require end of life decisions.
"Lap of Love" Quality of Life Pet Hospice Journal
Everybody Needs a "Murphy"! A story of the joys of adopting an older dog!