Pets have been living longer and this longevity, though we all appreciate, brings with it some weaknesses in an animal’s health that negatively affect its well-being, especially when we think of dogs.
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Despite this, the aging process is normal and brings with it important changes in the functioning of the pet’s organism and the consequent behavioral changes, both for the dog and for its owner.
“With dogs living with us longer, we begin to understand diseases that were not much talked about in the past and that are closely related to the issue of age,” explains veterinarian Natalia Fleming.
“Knowing that these diseases exist and are interfering with a pet’s life also helps with prevention policies, making teachers more attentive to problems and being prepared to seek veterinary help more frequently,” he adds.
Aging with quality of life and well-being is important for animals, and for this to happen, it is essential to understand the importance of frequent follow-up with your vet. Here are some of the major illnesses that afflict elderly dogs:
1. Heart disease
The type and severity of the problem may vary depending on the extent of the problem animal, and is almost always directly related to age. The dog’s first symptom is a dry cough, followed by tiredness doing simple activities.
Auscultation is part of a vet consultation, but it is recommended that a cardiac evaluation, beginning at age five, be part of a pet’s annual exams. An animal with heart disease can live a normal life as long as it is diagnosed early and treated properly, with constant and frequent monitoring by the veterinarian.
2. Dental problems
Just like humans, take better care of their teeth, have fewer problems, and the most common dental problems in elderly dogs are tartar buildup, bacterial plaque, gum disease, and tumors in the mouth area. In addition, some teeth may break or suffer from tooth decay. In some cases, teeth must be extracted.
Brushing a pet’s teeth is a procedure that should be done, whenever possible, of a puppy. It is common with age that teeth become more brittle and end up falling out. To prevent major problems, evaluation of the oral cavity and more in-depth cleaning of tartar may be recommended periodically.
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A cataract is the opacity of the lens of the eye, which can occur in whole or in part, and is irreversible. It can be related to the dog’s natural aging process or be related to diabetes, poor nutrition, trauma and infections. The diagnose They are performed by a vet through an eye examination, and when detected, it is important to research their origin to treat them.
Usually, the condition progresses to blindness in the animal. Although there is surgery to reverse cataracts in pets, it may not be recommended for some patients. It is possible for your dog to live with this condition without major problems, with a few adjustments.
Walking should always be on the same path, so that the dog feels safe in recognizing smells, sounds and distances traveled. If possible, avoid moving furniture around the house, and always keep things in the same place to prevent the pet from feeling lost or bumping into or bumping into the furniture. The bed, water, and food bowl should always remain in the same place, so your dog can reach them whenever he needs to.
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4. Orthopedic problems
With age, joints and cartilage deteriorate, which increases joint pain. The most common bone disease in elderly dogs is osteoporosis, the main symptoms observed are slow movement, difficulty reaching heights, resistance to longer walks, lameness, and in some moments of pain, pets can manifest themselves. Touch in the joint area.
Prevention of bone problems begins with a balanced dietBecause overweight and obesity greatly affect the early wear of the joints. In addition, regular exercise helps maintain muscle health and relieve joint fatigue.
Using a water walker can be a good option for pets who already have some joint discomfort, relieving contact with the ground and speeding up joint rehabilitation. In some cases, your vet may prescribe specific pain-reducing medications and nutritional supplements that help replace collagen and protect joints.
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Tumors (the famous “balls”) in dogs can be the first signs of cancer, especially in elderly dogs. Increased lymph node size, lumps on the neck, armpits, and back of the animal, and wounds that don’t heal are warning signs!
In other conditions, such as lymphomas and leukemia, the first signs can be seen on routine blood tests. The incidence of cancer in pets has grown more and more in recent years, especially in dog Older adults, and just as in humans, early detection brings greater chances of recovery.
The specific treatment is determined by the vet and includes the type and location of the cancer and the general condition of the animal. In some cases, surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy are recommended; In other cases, only surgery or chemotherapy is required.
* By Gisele Assis
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