To be able to spend a long time together with your dog is every dog’s owner’s wish. Not only we want our dog to live as long as possible but we also want them to live healthily and happily. However just like every other living creature a dog that makes it into her or his old age will have to trade it with declining health.
Senior dogs have weaker body sense and immunity than their younger counterparts. Common illnesses in senior dogs often appear in their internal organs. These illnesses range from diabetes mellitus kidney failure liver disease heart disease to bladder stones. Learn more about these illnesses and how to treat and prevent them below.
Like diabetes mellitus in human diabetes mellitus in dog is also caused the inability of pancreas to create insulin – hormone that controls the level of blood sugar by helping breaking glucose in the blood and transferring them to body cells as energy source. When there is not enough insulin your dog will feel thirst more often than usual. Along with that the frequency of urination will increase as well. The symptoms may include vomiting loss of appetiteo and consequently loss of weight and weakness.
Like in human diabetes mellitus also causes slow healing in any cuts or wounds and may cloud the vision. Psychologically your dog will feel there is something wrong with his body and it may stresses him and push him into depression. Behavioral change – like low or foul mood – will follow.
The most common treatment for diabetes mellitus is a combination of low fat diet exercise and insulin intake. The diet will slow down the absorption of glucose into the blood while the exercise will avoid any sudden spike of blood sugar. Insulin intake is usually given by injection every day. As an owner you will have to learn to do.
Kidney failure occurs when said organ can no longer do its task of filtering nutrition from waste. Because of this a lot of nutrition from food that ideally gets absorbed by the dog’s body goes into waste causing significant weight loss and weakness. The dog may urinate more than usual and his stool will be loose and watery. Sometimes it is accompanied with vomiting – with blood or not.
The inability of kidney to function will stress the dog and may even change his behavior. He may lose his appetite but drinks more often and his gum will look pale instead of bright pink. He may start develop bad breath as well.
Kidney failure can be treated differently – depending on the cause. If the cause of kidney failure is not because the kidney itself is damaged there is still hope for your dog to recover. However if the kidney is already unsalvageable then there is no other way than to keep an eye and give extra care to the dog.
Dog with kidney failure risks dehydration. Therefore make sure to give him access to clean water 24/7. Your veterinarian may prescribe potassium to mix with water to keep your dog have enough electrolyte in his system as well as other supplements to keep him well-nourished.
Liver is an organ responsible for many things from metabolism of fat carbohydrate and protein to toxic neutralizing to blood coagulation. Liver interacts with many other organs in doing its task so if it fails doing its jobo other organs may pick up the effect as well.
Symptoms of liver disease may resemble other sickness’ symptoms. First there will be common symptoms like loss of appetite weigh loss vomiting weaknesses or lethargy. Second there will be behavioral change like depression or even aggression – since the liver will no longer able to control the neurotoxin that affects their emotion. More specific symptoms may develop when the illness has gotten severe such as jaundice or the yellowing in the gum or eyes. The yellowing may occur in urine and stool as well because the liver can’t control the bilirubin that causes the yellow tint in them.
Since the symptoms of liver disease are much like symptoms from other illness there is no way to diagnose this illness by yourself. Only veterinarian with the help from laboratory will be able to determine it. If your dog is positively diagnosed with liver disease your veterinarian will usually recommend high carbohydrate/low protein diet prescribe lactulose to help neutralize toxins in the digestive systems and vitamin supplements.
Heart disease occurs when the dog’s heart is weakened to the point it experiences difficulty to pump blood to the various part of the body. The symptoms will be noticeable panting or loss of breath only after the slightest physical effort and may even lead to fainting. There may be coughing as well especially during the night. Common symptoms such as weight loss weakness or sluggishness and lethargy will be present as well.
The treatment for heart disease depends on the source of the disease itself. Commonly your veterinarian will prescribe medication from either of these types: ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitor diuretics positive inotropes or vasodilators. Along with that your veterinarian will prescribe the best diet for your pet that involves limiting salt intake. You may also asked not to exercise the dog to avoid worsening the condition.
Bladder stone has pretty distinct symptoms compared to other internal organ illnesses in senior dog. When a dog has accumulated “stones” in the bladder the to-be-expected symptoms are difficulty urinating – like alarmingly decreasing frequency or straining during urination. There may be blood in the urine as well.
The treatment for bladder stone usually involves surgery to cut open the bladder and remove the stone manually. If the bladder stone is still in early stage and fairly small however medication that can dissolve the stone is usually enough. Give more water to your dog to make it easier for the stone to dilute.
Illnesses in senior dogs particularly those that affects internal organ are usually incurable. However you can always stop the symptoms from appearing by paying attention to your dog’s food and water intake the amount of exercise recommended or allowed and the medication prescribed.