Age Is Not A Disease

One of the most common sentences a veterinarian hears is: “He’s just getting old.”

Most veterinary appointments start with taking a history, and asking how your pet is doing at home. For our senior patients, we often hear a list of ailments that owners may assume are simply to be expected as a natural part of the aging process. Although some problems are common in older patients, age itself is not a disease. Veterinarians love to fix “aging issues” to improve quality of life for our senior patients. It’s extremely gratifying to see that 15 year old pet act like a puppy or a kitten again! Please let us help!

“Fluffy’s not eating as well as he used to. But he’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!

If a senior pet isn’t eating well, it can be due to dental disease, diabetes, kidney failure, oral tumors or a number of other reasons, even a broken tooth. A thorough oral exam, some routine lab work and a detailed history can often help determine where the issue lies and in many cases, the problem can be corrected. In no time, Fluffy may be licking his bowl clean and you may be shelling out big bucks on that “Costco-sized” bag of pet food again.

“Fido’s just not getting around as well as he used to. But he’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!

Although age plays a factor in the process of arthritis, age itself is not the culprit; in this day and age we have an arsenal of tools and tricks at our disposal to improve mobility and comfort and actually slow down or even halt further arthritic changes. Joint supplements and nutraceuticals, anti-inflammatory and other pain medications, acupuncture and laser therapy all help improve the symptoms associated with arthritis and diminished nerve conduction. And let’s not rule out an orthopedic injury, a torn nail or even a pebble or thorn in the pad! Sometimes old dogs DO learn new tricks and they can get the same injuries as the young pets do!

“Smokey’s starting to have accidents in the house. But she’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!

Inappropriate urination is common in older kitties and pooches and is often a sign of a bladder infection, lower urinary tract disease or an inflammation of the bladder wall. There are sometimes contributing metabolic or hormonal diseases such as diabetes and Cushing’s disease. Sometimes it’s an innervation issue or a cyst or tumor in the bladder. A thorough exam and history coupled with a urinalysis, lab work and/or bladder ultrasound can help sort through potential causes and many of these have simple and inexpensive fixes.

“Bailey is tired all the time. But he’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!

Lethargy is a red flag for many diseases including heart disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, Addison’s disease and many others. Any type of chronic infection can also cause animals to feel tired and run down. Also, pain as from arthritis may present as lethargy.

So remember, if your senior pet starts to “act their age,” call your veterinarian and let them help. They may be able to find your pet that Fountain of Youth. Age is NOT a disease!

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DePorre Veterinary Hospital

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