Dogs have made a great difference to the quality of human lives thus owners make sure that the pet remains healthy. Dogs are provided with all the things that will make their lives comfortable. With prime quality foods and regular visits to the vet, the wellbeing of the pet is maintained. However, disease is a fact of life, one that cannot be totally prevented. Diseases that affect the dog can be caused by recessive genes and by the interaction with disease causing agents in the environment. As the dog grows older, normal aging changes will occur. The once spry and very energetic dog will slow down. The dog that has silvered hair on the muzzle would also be prone to age related diseases.
Arthritis is one of the most common illnesses that are associated with old age. The dog will have difficulties in climbing stairs, in getting up after lying down. The dog may no longer be eager to participate in the activities of the family. If your dog would rather lie down and sleep rather than accompany you to jog, the dog has not gone lazy. It is possible that the bones and the joints have lost the natural lubricants and have gone brittle. This condition normally occurs when the dog ages. Arthritis can also be associated with a diet that is low in calcium. Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually administered to provide the pet relief from pain. Arthritis cannot be healed as no medication can repair the degeneration of the cartilage.
At the last quarter of the dog’s expected life span, most would be suffering from periodontal diseases. Due to the reduced salivary production, bits of food that will stick to the mouth would cause the proliferation of dental diseases and bad breath-causing bacteria. Bacteria on the mouth can travel through the blood stream and accelerate the development of heart, kidney, liver and other diseases. Senior dog’s energy requirements are expected to decrease. Muscle wasting or loss of muscle mass as well as weight loss is associated with the dog’s decreased food requirement. The decreased food consumption of older dogs can be attributed to dental problems.
Urinary incontinence can occur to dogs of all ages but this health concern is most common in senior citizen dogs. The dog will dribble urine when lying down or while sleeping. Urinary incontinence can be due to urinary tract infection and to kidney stones that create a urethral blockage. Prostate gland enlargement can also cause the senior dog to dribble urine. Constipation is common in geriatric dogs. This condition is associated with a diet that is low in fiber. Old dogs usually don’t have the inclination to exercise because of painful joints and sore muscles that are caused by arthritis. As a result, the old pet would suffer from defecating difficulties. A dog that is less active has the tendency to be obese. Obesity, of course will result to a number of health concerns that would be even more risky because of the advanced age of the dog. Obese dogs are prone to diabetes, to heart conditions, high blood pressure and other metabolic disorders. Older dogs would progressively lose the hearing ability. The dog can lose the vision as well. Cloudiness in the senior dog’s eyes can be due to the hardening of the lens of the eyes, a condition that can arise from nuclear sclerosis and cataract.
Veterinary medicine has progressed significantly over the years. New diagnostic and treatment procedures, new medications, new equipments have resolved a lot of canine diseases. We dog owners have yet to wait for the time when new medical technologies can resolve the age related health concern of our aging pets – treatment that will provide our pets with the much desired canine longevity.