Due to lifestyle improvements and advancements in health care, just like us, our pets are living longer. Their needs change as they age just as they do with us also, and there are some simple things you can do to help your pet remain healthy and happy throughout their senior years. Unsurprisingly many of them are common-sense approaches that apply to us as well, and if we can have “grey power” as we age, so can they.
Because they are all different, individual animals age differently, however there are some common issues that affect most dogs and cats
. For dogs, the size and breed is relevant, and larger dogs generally age more quickly than smaller dogs. A larger dog such as German Shepherd could be considered senior at seven to eight years, whereas a miniature poodle would not be considered senior until the early teens.
There is less variation with cats, who at seven to ten are in their “mature” years, but aren’t really considered to be senior until over ten. At 15 and above, they are very senior. With all animals, general health, medical history, nutrition and environment will influence aging. Genetics can also play a significant role.
Adelaide’s days are getting shorter and cooler, and getting outdoors to walk your pooch may be becoming a little less appealing, especially after work. Your dog should get adequate exercise throughout the year however, and there are lots of ways to make exercise varied and interesting, and comfortable for you both in the cooler months.
It’s important that your dog doesn’t get out of shape from inactivity during winter. If your pooch ever has spells of inactivity for an extended period, you’ll need to ease him or her back into their exercise regime, and start slowly to help the rebuild muscle tone before returning to a normal level of strenuous outdoor exercise. Before we look at some exercise options in winter, we’ll discuss two issues that can result from inactivity and why it’s so important that exercise be maintained consistently.
Pets enrich our lives in many ways, and they can help us overcome feelings of loneliness and depression. But is it possible for pets to become depressed themselves? Just like us, animals have feelings and moods, and these can lead to them having good and bad days, just as we do. Pets can also become depressed. The symptoms can be similar to those that affect humans, and it may be more common than we think.
If you have a pet then you’re a “pet mum”… in fact, you probably don’t even need to be female to be a pet mum. Regardless of whether your pet is a dog or cat, a horse or a bird, whatever they are, then you’re a pet mum!
Pets are special members of the family. They enrich our lives and provide emotional support and companionship, therefore being a pet mum is an important and fulfilling role. In acknowledgement of the importance of mothers, this Mothers’ Day we pay tribute to all the pet mums, and we look at ten reasons why being a pet mum can be fun and rewarding.
Does your dog or cat appear to be a little stiffer when getting up after a nap, and a little less nimble overall? Maybe your dog walks to catch a ball these days, or doesn’t follow you around as much, or perhaps your cat is struggling to jump up onto the lounge. Like us, dogs and cats get arthritis, and these can be signs that they could be suffering from it.
Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. What are they, and what’s the difference?
Arthritis is not a single disease. It is a term that’s used informally to refer to joint pain or joint disease. There are many different types, and osteoarthritis is the most common type in dogs and cats.
Osteoarthritis is a long-term progressive disease that causes permanent deterioration of cartilage around the joints. It is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. Older animals are generally at a higher risk of osteoarthritis, but pets of any age can suffer from various types of arthritis, which also include septic arthritis - joint inflammation caused by a type of bacterial or fungal infection - and immune-mediated arthritis, which is caused by the immune system attacking joints.
The ends of the bones in joints are covered and protected by cartilage. Cartilage itself doesn’t have nerves, but the bone that it covers does. Arthritis causes abnormal movement of the bones which over time causes the cartilage to wear away, thus exposing the bone and the nerves contained within it. Pain and inflammation is caused by bones touching and grinding against each other, and it can have a significant impact on an animal’s quality of life.
Symptoms commonly include pain, swelling, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion. All may come and go, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Diabetes mellitus (or sugar diabetes) is a complex disease affecting both humans and animals. Diabetes results in the failure of the body to regulate blood sugar.
In a healthy dog or cat, cells in the pancreas called "beta cells" produce the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar. In animals with diabetes, there is complete destruction or a reduction in the number of beta cells and therefore insulin, or resistance of body tissues to insulin. This results in unregulated blood sugar and the condition known as hyperglycaemia, or high blood sugar.
Australians love their pets, and more than 60% of households have one. Collectively, millions of dollars are spent every week looking after them, but unfortunately this generosity doesn’t extend to the hundreds of thousands of animals that find their way into shelters every year. Many end up there as a result of unplanned pregnancies, and tragically, many of end up being euthanised. A simple and effective way to prevent these unwanted pregnancies is desexing.
The large majority Australia’s registered pets are desexed, which demonstrates that people who take registration responsibly, also take a responsible approach to desexing, but there are thousands of animals that are unregistered and potentially not desexed. People choose not to desex their pets for a variety of reasons.
Easter can be a fun time with family and friends, but it can sometimes be hazardous for your pet. Following are some of the risks to your pet’s health that they can be exposed to at Easter. Keeping an eye on them and being aware of the risks will help you to keep your pet out of harm’s way, and ensure that everyone has a safe and happy Easter.
As with any issue a visit to the vet is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. History is important in helping your vet determine whether there has been a change and in helping them choose the most appropriate diagnostic tests. During an examination, your vet will check the eye for indications of trauma, and signs of systemic problems. They’ll also evaluate the structures of the eye.
If your pet has a simple eye infection then the prognosis is very good. Viral infections are often self-limiting, (i.e. they will get better by themselves and without treatment), and bacterial infections usually respond well to treatment such as antibiotics.
Whilst it’s important to keep a watch out for potential eye problems in your pets, and to conduct the basic checks, it’s important to also remember that different problems can look alike to the untrained eye. If your pet is showing any signs of pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to call us to arrange a visit. Trying to treat a problem at home, and not knowing what it really is, can waste precious time in getting the right diagnosis and worse still, it can create further problems.
If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s eye health or any other health care issues, call us to make an appointment, or alternatively book online at your convenience 24/7.
The kidneys play a vital role by filtering blood and removing waste products from the body’s circulation. They also regulate certain hormones, blood volume and water composition, blood sugar, and blood pressure. When kidney function is impaired, waste products start to accumulate in the body and cause illness.
Kidney failure can result from a slow deterioration of kidney function and consequently the symptoms may not be obvious until it’s too late to treat effectively. Kidneys will often compensate losses of functionality over an extended period, but the disease can be fatal.
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