2 The Green, Thurlby, PE10 0EB
4 Stamford Rd, Market Deeping, PE6 8AB
SENIOR PETS - DOGS
There is no set age at which your dog is considered to be 'old'. It is dependent on their breed, with the larger
breeds maturing more quickly than smaller breeds.
Often, a problem which you suspect is due to the advancing age of your pet may actually be the result of a
treatable medical condition.
A dog that has 'slowed down' may be suffering from arthritis, heart disease or cognitive dysfunction ('dementia')
A pickier appetite may be an early sign of liver or kidney disease or dental pain
Various medical conditions can cause or increase the likelihood of urinary 'accidents' in the house
Health problems which are common in the older dog:
'Lumps and bumps'
Cognitive dysfunction ('dementia')
Signs of heart disease include having less energy and struggling with exercise, coughing, breathlessness and
fainting. Normally these signs develop slowly so you may not notice that your pet is less active. Heart disease is
most common in smaller breeds of dog such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, but can occur in any dog. We
have various drugs available which help the heart work more efficiently, and so can help improve the quality and
quantity of life of your pet.
Lumps and bumps
Finding a new swelling or lump somewhere on your dog is common as they age. Many of these lumps turn out to
be nothing to worry about but unfortunately some can turn out to be serious cancers. 'Nastier' lumps may grow
quickly, become red or ulcerated or irritate your dog. If you notice a new lump or bump on your dog, then we
can examine it and discuss whether the best option would be to monitor, sample or surgically remove it.
Cognitive dysfunction ('dementia')
Metabolic processes in the body are constantly producing harmful by-products called free radicals which in a
young animal are neutralised by anti-oxidants. In older animals, free radical production increases but
unfortunately the amount of anti-oxidants decrease. This leads to excessive amounts of free radicals which can
damage cells within the brain.
Your dog may show signs of being more restless, pacing behaviour, disorientation, vocalisation or a decrease in
interaction with you. They may also show signs of inappropriate toileting behaviour.
Finding unexpected puddles in the house or noticing your dog dribbles urine whilst sleeping can indicate urinary
incontinence. It may occur because a medical problem is causing more urine to be produced than your dog's
bladder can hold; blood and urine tests may detect a treatable medical condition. Alternatively problems with
urination may be due to internal muscles becoming less effective, and if this is the case, we can dispense
medication to help this condition.
Early signs of kidney disease can be quite non-specific and may be put down to 'old-age'. Initially all that may be
evident is mild weight loss, but as the disease progresses other symptoms may begin to show including poor
appetite, obvious weight loss, lethargy and dehydration. An increase in drinking and urination or inappropriate
urination may be seen in some cases.
Early detection and treatment can improve your dog's quality of life and longevity. Diagnosis is relatively
straightforward and involves a urine test and a blood test.
Treatment includes a prescription food and possibly a dietary supplement, and in some, but not all cases,
tablets. Occasionally your dog may need to be hospitalised and placed on intravenous fluids.
The liver processes food from the gut and produces products to aid digestion, as well as getting rid of toxins and
infections from the blood. It is a very important organ which may become less efficient with aging. Signs of liver
disease are often very non-specific. They include inappetence, tummy upsets, depression, lethargy, increased
thirst and urination, disorientation and abnormal behaviour, as well as serious problems such as fits. These
symptoms often come and go.
A blood test can give us a lot of information about your dog's liver, and if the results are abnormal, we will
advise you about further tests or treatment. If needed, treatment could include a prescription diet, supplements
or other medications which can improve your dog's quality of life and longevity.
With age, the nutritional requirements of you dog will change. We have various diets designed for the older dog
as well as for specific problems such as obesity, joint pain or dental disease. To help you choose the best food
for your pet we would be happy to provide an individual assessment of your dog's requirements.
Many of these conditions are progressive. The earlier a problem is detected, the better it can be
managed which is likely to improve longevity and quality of life. The first signs of a problem can be
subtle so we recommend regular health checks for older dogs. These can be combined with your annual