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Senior Pet Care: Common Conditions

Posted In: Feline Health & Wellness, Canine Health & Wellness

Osteoarthritis  - Arthritis is luckily one of the easier conditions to spot the symptoms of. As a pet owner, you should not assume that slowing down, decreased mobility, or difficulty standing up or sitting down are all just normal parts of your pet aging- in many cases these are signs that your pet is suffering from arthritis, which can be treated with medication and therapy to give your pet a much more comfortable life. Watch this short YouTube video about identifying mobility issues in your pet that may indicate arthritis. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you which medication is best to treat your pet’s condition, but some of the most common treatments include Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Gabapentin, or occasionally corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drugs. But medication isn’t the only solution- there have been remarkable non-medication advances in pain management which are also highly effective way to keep your pet mobile and comfortable. These therapies include underwater treadmills, chiropractic, laser therapy, platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP), and more. We offer these services at both AMCMA locations in our Integrated Veterinary Pain Management Centers- ask your veterinarian for more information at your next visit!

Diabetes – Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot use the sugar, glucose properly. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells and is controlled by a hormone called Insulin. In simple terms, diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to regulate glucose levels, causing irregular blood sugar levels. Noticing the early signs of diabetes is the most important step in taking care of a diabetic pet. Symptoms include excessive water drinking and frequent urination, weight loss (even though there may an increased appetite), decreased appetite, cloudy eyes (especially in dogs), and chronic or recurring infections. Once a diagnosis has been made by your veterinarian, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all protocol. Your veterinarian may periodically need to adjust your pet’s treatment regimen based on the results of monitoring. Dietary recommendations are an important part of treatment. Successful treatment of diabetes requires regular examinations, blood and urine tests, and monitoring your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking and urination.

Kidney and Liver Disease – Abnormal function of the kidney and liver are unfortunately a fairly common occurrence in aging pets. There are a number of factors that can contribute to this, including geriatric degeneration, bacterial infections, toxins, dental disease, and congenital conditions. There are a range of symptoms associated with these issues, but in general important signs to watch out for are significant weight loss, vomiting, pale gums, uncoordinated movement, chemically odor on breath, increase or decrease in water consumption and/or urination, lethargy, and changes in appetite. Diagnostic bloodwork from your veterinarian will be able to determine these issues, and with a diagnosis your doctor will be able to prescribe the appropriate course of treatment for your pet.

Cancer – Unfortunately, cancer can affect our furry friends in many of the same ways it affects humans. There are many different kinds of cancer that target different parts of the body, but some of the most important symptoms to watch for in aging pets include unusual swelling, lumps or bumps, sores that don’t heal, weight loss or loss of appetite, discharge from any opening in the body, foul odors, decrease in stamina, and problems with breathing or eating. If you suspect that your pet may have cancer, early detection is the key to successful treatment. Many of the treatments used on humans can also be used on dogs, including surgery, radiation therapy (the use of ionizing radiation to kill tumor cells by targeting the cell’s DNA), and chemotherapy (drug therapy used to kill or slow cancer’s growth). Cancer is always a scary diagnosis, but the disease is often treatable or even curable, thanks to specialized treatments and advancements in medicine.

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at two locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.