Nothing is sadder than seeing your favorite grow old. For some people, the cost of taking care of their old dogs is negligible compared to the happiness and loyalty these pets have provided their masters. For this reason, owners of old dogs should have their pets undergo periodic examinations to detect and treat ailments and diseases in its earliest stages.
Early detection and treatment of any medical complications of an old pet is very important. This is because the old dog has less resistance to diseases and ailments and his recovery time is also slower. Here are some illnesses, diseases and symptoms you should watch out for when taking care of your old dog.
Shortness of Breath, Increased Respiration and Coughing
This could mean that your dog is having heart trouble. About 10% of dogs are susceptible to heart problems and congestive heart failure. With the growing popularity of dog food along with the advances in veterinary medicine however, the effects of this condition can be reduced.
A stethoscope or an electrocardiograph will be used to confirm suspicions of this kind of medical ailment. In most cases, the veterinarian will digitalize the pet’s heart to strengthen the heart’s muscles along with prescribing medications. An accumulation of dropsy or fluid in the abdominal cavity and lung tissues is usual in dogs with this type of condition. To treat this, a vet will prescribe diuretics to remove the excess fluids from the body of the dog as well as medicines to relieve the cough. Allowing the pet to become emotionally excited is also discouraged by veterinarians as this is bad for the dog’s heart. Furthermore, old dog’s suffering from this condition should be kept in cool and dry places as excessive heat and humidity strains the heart further.
Of course, weight and diet control is also essential in maintaining the health of your dog. For this reason, the dog’s diet should be low in salt, sodium, seasoning, spice, and certain vegetables like celery, spinach, turnips and artichokes should be avoided.
Urinary and Prostate Problems
Prostatitis is common in old male dogs. This is an enlargement of the prostrate glands of the dogs that can be very painful for your pet. Because of this, your pet may sometimes appear stiff legged and show fever or pain. Prostatitis can also be the cause of your dog’s constipation and difficulty in urination as the prostate in this case presses against your dog’s rectum and urethra. By examining the rectum of your dog a veterinarian can reduce the pain as well as the size of the prostate by massaging it and prescribing female hormones.
Urinary problems are also fairly common in old dogs and may be caused by several factors including nephritis, cystitis, prostatitis and stones in the bladder. As your pet grows old, there is a degeneration of the kidney tissues along with the decrease in kidney function. Symptoms for this kind of condition include vomiting, difficulty in walking, bad breath, loss of weight, frequent urination and excessive drinking.
To treat this condition, you may have your pet undergo hormone treatment, surgery (if there are stones in the kidney), protein reduction and proper diet.