Our pets age at a much different rate than we do. At the age of 10, dogs and cats are considered geriatric and degenerative diseases often start to emerge. A thorough bi-annual exam and blood work becomes paramount and can reveal the early stages of many conditions that can be effectively treated with early intervention.
It is also essential that you, the pet owner, pay close attention and look for clues that things may be changing. We suggest 10 important things to watch for when your pet reaches 10 years of age:
- The appearance of the coat and skin. Poor condition can signal disease.
- Change in weight; either weight gain or loss with no change in feeding routine.
- Lumps and bumps. Changes in contours can signal problems.
- Color and odor. Look for unpleasant breath, redness of the eyes, or redness and/or odor about the ears.
- Changes in gait; slow to rise, reluctant to go up stairs, lameness or slow to lie down.
- Vomiting or changes in frequency and consistency of bowel movements.
- Changes in social patterns with family members and other pets.
- Social withdrawal; hiding, not greeting you as usual.
- Increased or decreased water consumption or urine production.
- Changes in eating patterns. These all can be early signals of a serious underlying disease that is emerging.
So as your pet reaches that golden age of 10, working with your veterinary team and paying close attention is vital for your four-legged friend.
Originally published September 2014 in the Weekly Herald