Looking after pets takes a lot of commitment and devotion – and as they age, this can increase as they may need more of our help. But by keeping a close eye on them and supporting their additional needs, our pets can continue to lead happy and healthy lives well into their golden years.
Arthritis, dementia and most cancers are all more prevalent in older pets. They are also at risk of other diseases like diabetes, kidney and liver problems and hormone imbalances as they age.
A check-up at the vet every six months, even if they seem healthy, will help ensure any illnesses your pet might be developing are spotted at an early stage, this way, there’s a better chance of successful treatment or management of many conditions.
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing explains that many of the ailments old age pets can suffer from are similar to those we might expect to get ourselves.
“It’s incredibly common for our pets to start to slow down as they reach their senior years,” she said.
“But there’s quite often a medical reason for this. With regular vet check-ups and a little extra care and observation, we can identify, diagnose and manage illnesses that could otherwise affect their quality of life.
“It’s important pet owners don’t dismiss signs of disease as inevitable parts of ageing.”
Stiffness, tiredness and changes to eating, drinking and toileting habits are just some of the symptoms that may mean there’s a problem and it’s important to speak to your vet to see what you can do to alleviate symptoms and help your pet.”
Signs your older pet may be unwell can be subtle, especially as some symptoms may be slow to develop.
In older pets, there are some signs that it’s good to keep an eye out for include:
Stiffness when standing up or walking, limping or the way in which they move in general may look uncomfortable, loss of confidence (taking longer or hesitating to jump up or down from steps or furniture), changes in weight or body shape (i.e. unexplained loss or gain and changes in energy levels (most often tiredness, but an unusual increase in activity can also be a sign of illness).
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