Parker County Today October 2017 - Page 47

Question: Dear Dr. Cate: We’ve noticed some changes in our 7-year-old dog lately. He isn’t eating, getting around the house or playing like he used to do. Is it just because he’s getting older, or is there something else going on? Answer: At 7, most dogs and cats are considered geriatric, meaning that 75 percent of their lifespan has already gone by. For large breed dogs, that definition actually begins at age six. Because veterinary care has improved, many dogs are living longer than ever before; but having an older dog is not without its chal- lenges. Unfortunately, many people aren’t up to the challenge and research tells us that one-fourth of the dogs surrendered to shelters are older dogs. When you visit the vet, be ready to provide them with a list of the issues that you’ve noticed. You are the best person to tell what you’ve observed and how long the behaviors have been going on because you and your family spend the most time with your pet. We all want our animals to age gracefully, and have a happy life. Working with your vet and paying attention to warning signs can nurture the animal that you’ve spent years with and can provide you comfort, protection and good company. Just because your dog is older, doesn’t mean they have to be uncomfortable as they reach the end of their life. Your dog can live an active, fulfilling life with the help of modern veteri- nary medicine. Now Serving Two Locations •Small Animal •Large Animal •Boarding •Grooming Ryan E. Cate, DVM • Emergency calls after hours • 819 Santa Fe Drive | Weatherford, TX 76086 (817) 594-0216 | Metro: (817) 596-8808 Mon-Fri: 8am–5:30pm | Sat: 8am–12pm 1421 FM 1189 Ste. 4 | Brock, TX 76087 (817) 599-8085 Mon-Thur: 7:30am–6pm | Fri: 7:30am–5pm Some of the health problems of There are some warning signs to look for in older animals and they vary with the type of disease or prob- lem that your pet might be facing. Some of the things to look for are decreased appetite, increased thirst, an increase or change in urination, poor hair or coat, vomiting and sore mouth. These can be warning signs for anything from heart disease to urinary tract infection. Cancer is also a concern in older pets because more than half the dogs over the age of 10 will develop some kind of cancer. Common signs of cancer in your pet could be abdominal swelling, bleed- ing from the mouth or nose, difficulty breathing or eating, lumps, wounds that won’t heal, persistent diarrhea or vomiting, sudden changes in weight or visible masses or tumors. Older dogs are like older people; they are more sensitive to tempera- ture changes and can’t regulate their internal temperatures like they could when they were younger. They also require increased veterinary care. You should consider semi-annual visits to the vet so any kind of illness or problems can be found early and treated. Diet and nutrition are important for older pets because they require less calories and nutrition that takes into account their advanced age. Talk to your vet and see what he or she suggests for food for your older animal. Although some foods are classified as nutrition for older dogs, there are no guidelines or definitions of what constitutes a senior dog food. Obesity can be a real problem for older pets because ][]]Bو\\Y\X\[ܙX\Y\ۈ[ˈ\[[X[YY^\\HX]ؙ\]K]]]\H[\]YZ\YH[X[]Y\ˈX\[[[[ۂ]\[ܘ]\\\[[X[]\\]\H]XZHHق\[X[ˈ[][]H[\X\\X\KY^K\[\HX\X\K]\\X\KXX]\[܈ۙH\X\K[[ B]H܈\[\[XZۙ\ˈ[\][]HYۜوۚ]]B\ٝ[[ۋH[X[\]Z][[ق[Z[Y\&\ˈ\\Y\\H\KBYY\[\[Z][܈[Y[™XܙX\\[\ۜ][\[\XB[ۈ][X[[[YܛZ[˂[\[[X[[[XYH[ܙB\]XKۙ\Y [[\[[\[ˈ[و\H\HYۜ][HYYZH[\܈]œYH]܋