As the body ages, so does the brain. Changes in your pet’s brain may be similar to that experienced by an elderly person. The effects of aging on the brain range from nothing overt to severe dementia. Signs of brain aging can include:
- Disorientation – getting stuck behind furniture, exhibiting slower responses to sights and sounds
- Activity changes – sleeping more and becoming more restless at night
- Changes in social interaction – your pet may not greet you at the door, or be less interested in playing with you
- Anxiety – fear of sounds, people or environments, desire to be with someone all the time or an increase in irritability
- Depression – disinterest in food, toys, other pets, people and grooming
- Changes in learning and memory – a reduced ability to adapt to new environments and learn new tasks
A thorough physical exam and potentially a neurological exam, as well as further diagnostic testing, are the first steps in determining a treatment protocol for your pet. There are medications and specially formulated diets that may improve the physical signs of brain aging.
INTACT MALES AND FEMALES
If your pet has not been speyed or castrated, there are several problems they may encounter:
- Prostate cancer, enlargement or infection – may cause urinary problems or straining to defecate
- Testicular tumours – check for changes in size, shape and consistency of your pet’s testes
- Mammary (breast) or ovarian tumours
- Pyometra – this is an overwhelming infection in the uterus and can be life threatening. Signs include increased thirst and urination, inappetence, vaginal discharge and lethargy
If your pet is not desexed, and you would like to discuss the procedure with us, please feel free to call or drop in for a chat,
Exercise is important for all of us to maintain healthy bones, muscles and stamina, and it certainly remains important for our older pets! Frequent walks and playing with your pet not only provides exercise, but also quality time shared with you. If your pet has difficulty completing your normal walk, it may be time to slow down your pace or decrease the distance. If your pet is slowing down though, please remember the impact arthritis can have on a pet’s wellbeing, and bring him or her down for an arthritis check today. Swimming is also a wonderful way to exercise your pet, and is a minimal impact form of exercise that a lot of dogs really enjoy, and can be great for pets with arthritis problems.
LUMPS AND BUMPS
As your pets age, they are more susceptible to developing masses. Some of these lumps are benign, but others may be malignant tumours. It is always a good idea to have us check any lumps or bumps you find on your pet. We can take a sample of the cells within the lump for examination either in-house or by a veterinary pathologist, or we may recommend a biopsy be taken to determine the type of mass you have found. The most important this for you to do at home, however, is to keep track of when you first noticed the lump, and if it has changed in size, shape or consistency. These are important pieces of information to relay to us to ensure we give you the most accurate diagnosis and prognosis we can offer.
Caring for a geriatric pet can be a rewarding experience for everyone. There are many things that you can do to increase your pets quality of life in its golden years. All of our staff are here to help you and your pet with the challenges of aging, so please don’t hesitate to call one of our friendly staff to make appointment for a consultation.