Check Out Our Advertisers!
     None  Accounting/Bookkeeping
     None  Attorney - Lawyer
     None  Auto
     None  Aviation
     None  Banks and Credit Unions
     None  Carpet Cleaning
     None  Chamber of Commerce
     None  Child Care
     None  Chiropractic Care
     None  Churches
     None  Computer Services
     None  Dental Care
     None  Dry Cleaning
     None  Electric utility
     None  Equine Services
     None  Excavating
     None  Eye Care
     None  Feed Stores
     None  Field Mowing
     None  Financial Services
     None  Fireplace Sales/Service
     None  Fitness
     None  Flooring
     None  Hair/Nail Care and Cosmetics
     None  Handyman Services
     None  Health Care Facilities and Services
     None  Health Care
     None  Heating and Cooling
     None  Home Maintenance
     None  House Cleaning
     None  Insulation
     None  Insurance
     None  Internet Service
     None  Jewelry
     None  Orthodontist
     None  Paving/Asphalt
     None  Pet Grooming
     None  Pet Sitter
     None  Plumbing
     None  Portable Buildings
     None  Propane Delivery
     None  Propane
     None  Property Management
     None  Racing - Cars
     None  Real Estate Services
     None  Restaurants
     None  Roofing
     None  Schools
     None  Septic Services
     None  Sheds, Outbuildings
     None  Shipping Services
     None  Specialty/Gifts
     None  Storage
     None  Tax Preparation
     None  Tractor, Trailer and RV Sales
     None  Upholstery
     None  Veterinarian
     None  Window Replacement
     None  Windshield Repair
     None  Winery
     None  Woodworking


 
“New year — a new chapter, new verse or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours.”
– Alex Morritt, author  
Contact Us | Advertise | Classified Ad | News Stands | Subscribe  

  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 1 January 2019  

None
None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar  
None Community Photos   None Did You Know?   None FFPD Column   None FFPD News  
None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness   None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business  
None News Briefs   None News From D 49   None People on the Plains   None Pet Care  
None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Rumors  
None
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
None
 

Dr. Jim Humphries

  It happens to all of us — aging pets B
  By Dr. Jim Humphries

   In my practice, I see many aging and very senior dogs and cats. Many are not getting good care. I often hear things like “they are just getting old.” Yes, so am I! But I am not ready for “the home” or certainly not ready for “the shot.” I need exercise, better nutrition, meds for aches and pains; and I need to see a variety of doctors to help me manage all of this.
   
   But what about pets? Recently, one of our dogs, the bird dog Great Dane cross, who has been so active and athletic all her life, has been slowing down, showing serious aches and pains. She is starting to get lost and not hear as well, and she even had a very short seizure. This has all happened so fast that it has surprised her veterinarian “dad.”
   
   What is aging? How do we recognize it? What can we do to either prevent it or treat it? In recent years, there has been extensive research on the problems facing older pets and how their owners and veterinarians can best handle their special needs.
   
   When do they get old? It varies depending on the size, breed and the kind of care they’ve had all their life. Cats and small dogs are generally considered geriatric at the age of 7. At that age, they are about 54 in human years. Larger breed dogs have shorter life spans and are considered seniors when they are about 6. At that age, they are approaching 60 in human years. The oldest recorded age of a cat is 34 years. The oldest recorded age of a dog is 29 years.
   
   What kinds of health problems do our aging pets have? Well, I see this list every week and the first is cancer. Almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. This is followed by arthritis; the rest of the common ones are heart disease, kidney and bladder issues, liver disease, diabetes, dementia and weakness.
   
   Cancer comes in all types and it can be visible, like skin tumors or it can grow hidden in the chest, abdomen or elsewhere. Arthritis is so common there is hardly a very senior dog without it, and it can easily be treated today with good medications. Many dogs, but fewer cats, have heart disease. We also have good news, as there are new meds that can help heart cases.
   
   Unlike these problems, it is much harder to effectively treat pets with kidney and liver disease, but it should be caught early. With dementia, it usually comes on slowly with confusion, urinating in the house, circling, wandering, anxiety, getting lost in familiar surroundings — combined with pain, these dogs get to be “old and cranky” pretty fast. You need to keep a closer eye on your seniors to catch these things before they get too far along to treat.
   
   The only way to catch these things so you have a good chance of helping your pets age gracefully, with dignity and with the least amount of pain, is making sure you get them into a good veterinarian for senior blood monitoring, dental care, a good physical exam and any diet change or medications that will help your ole buddy live a life that he or she deserves.
   
   You definitely want to keep their weight on the lean side. It is easy to let your pets eat free-choice, or simply give them too many calories than they need each day. Then slowly and surely they become obese, and you find yourself with an arthritic dog that can’t exercise much to burn those excess calories. An overweight diabetic or heart patient just means complications and probably treatment failure. I like to feel; and, in some cases even see the ribs on dogs. They should have a “waist” when you look down on them from above. You will be doing your dogs a big favor by keeping them lean and resisting those extra treats and table food.
   
   For those with dementia, there are precious few meds out there that really help. Studies conducted in the early 1990s were the first to identify brain changes in older dogs that were similar to brain changes seen in humans with Alzheimer's disease (i.e., amyloid deposits). Laboratory tests were also developed in the 1990s to detect learning and memory deficits in older dogs. There is now work being done to identify this in younger dogs — all in an effort to treat/prevent this devastating common old dog problem. I do recommend high dose fish oil and a drug called Senalife® — along with a rich and stimulating environment to keep them from drifting into boredom and senility.
   
   Ask your veterinarian to show you how to do an at-home physical exam. This is the best way to find cancer and many other problems when they are just starting. If you have had your pet insured during its lifetime, now, when it is a senior, it really pays off to be able to have all the reasonable tests and treatments done without worrying about the cost.
Dr. Jim Humphries is a veterinarian in Colorado Springs and also serves as a visiting professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. He lives in Falcon with his wife, horses and Great Danes. www.HomeWithDignity.com
  
Facebook print this page      


  © 2004-2019 The New Falcon Herald. All rights reserved. About | Contact | Advertise | News Stands | Privacy Policy