The diseases of the old dog
One of the most important and worrying of all is heart disease. As with humans, the old dog very often suffers from a heart problem. We speak, in particular, of valvular diseases. Valves are small valves in the heart that are supposed to ensure the rhythmic passage from one compartment of the heart to another. When these valves are no longer functioning properly blood escapes when they should be closed. This is when the heart murmur appears (the sound of leaking blood). Gradually heart failure sets in: the remodeled heart (its structure changes) no longer sends blood well to the rest of the body and more or less serious symptoms occur. The old hearted dog coughs more often, gets tired quickly and runs out of breath at the slightest effort. Lung edema can set in making it very difficult to breathe. In some it is a vital emergency in the old dog.
The eyes of the old dog can change color and in particular they can “turn white”. It is the lens that loses its transparent structure. He can lose his sight and it is often in the case in the cataract of the dog, or not and there one speaks about sclerosis of the lens.
Dogs’ joints often make them suffer from osteoarthritis.
The tumors are much more common in old dogs, this is why your veterinarian will often mention it as a potential cause of abnormal symptoms in older dogs. Mammary tumors often appear in unsterilized or late-sterilized bitch. These breast tumors are cancerous in half of the cases. You can regularly monitor your bitch’s udders to detect breast tumors very early on. The earlier they are removed, the less consequence there will be.
Respiratory diseases: as they age the airways of the elderly dog thicken, become hard and lose their flexibility. They are less functional and that is why many older dogs have chronic bronchitis.
Diseases related to the reproductive system such as ailments of the dog’s prostate. Dog prostatic syndrome includes difficulty walking and passing stools, abdominal pain, and sometimes fever in the elderly uncastrated male dog. It can appear during benign prostatic hyperplasia but also in the event of a cyst, tumor or abscess thereof.
Behavior changes are linked to an aging dog’s brain but also pain related to osteoarthritis, deafness or blindness. The dog unlearns what he had acquired in youth such as orders but also for example the meaning of opening doors. We sometimes have the impression that he is relapsing into childhood, playing non-stop, putting whatever he finds in his mouth. He is sometimes completely disoriented, confuses day and night, barks for no reason… He can develop sleep disorders. At last he may also show unusual aggressiveness because he is more easily surprised (if he is deaf or blind) or because he has become less tolerant to solicitations (we speak of aggressiveness through irritation). In very advanced cases of brain degeneration the dog may exhibit repetitive behaviors such as pushing against the wall or eating dirt.
What follow-up for the old dog?
This involves regular visits to your veterinarian to prevent the onset of heart, kidney or liver disease through blood tests and a complete clinical examination. The dog is considered senior from the age of 7. Large dogs age faster than small dogs who can live a very long time.
If your veterinarian detects an abnormal change, he can intervene very early and slow down the progression of the diagnosed disease.
What prevention for the ailments of the old dog?
To prevent diseases related to the reproductive system it is advisable to sterilize dogs and bitches very young (see the article on dog castration).
To avoid lapses or pee accidents in the house it has to be taken out more often than before, older dogs have a harder time holding back. If the dog used to go out alone to urinate, install ramps to the exits and cover slippery floors with non-slip materials when necessary so that he does not have any apprehension to go out if he does. has osteoarthritis. Instead, you should use a diaper for the incontinent dog.
A stable environment is essential for the dog who has lost his sight. He is able to remember where the furniture is to avoid bumping into it, so it is better to avoid moving it. Likewise, a stable environment is reassuring for disoriented dogs.
As soon as the dog reaches the age of 7 years you can give him a food intended for senior dogs in order to improve the prevention of the appearance of the diseases of the old dog.
Respect the treatment prescribed by the veterinarian. These are often lifelong or long-term treatments that should not be stopped suddenly. Doing the right treatment will prolong your dog’s life and improve his comfort. If it is too complicated to give or if the rhythm does not suit you, do not hesitate to discuss it with your veterinarian.