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Posts Tagged ‘geriatric’

Health Issues in Older Dogs: Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Ever walked into a room and wondered why you went in there in the first place? I know I have, and at 50 years old it seems to happen more and more! This is part of normal ageing, along with creaky knees and my silver fox hair. Not every person (or dog) ages the same way & sometimes we see changes that are more severe than those of normal “healthy” ageing. One of the more common questions I get asked by the owners of geriatric dogs is “do dogs go senile?” The answer is yes they can, although we call it cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses, dysfunction simply means it is going wrong!

The age at which a dog becomes geriatric will depend on the individual, and factors such as breed, but is generally about eight years of age. It is important to realise that geriatric dogs will be less active and rest more, this is normal healthy ageing. What we see with CDS are behavioural issues which may affect the pet’s welfare and the human-dog bond.

Possible symptoms include disorientation (sometimes the dog doesn’t seem to know where he is even though he is somewhere familiar) and reduced interaction with the family, which may lead to fear or irritation. Disturbed sleep, for example becoming restless at night and sometimes crying at night for no apparent reason. You may see loss of housetraining and an increase in anxiety levels. In severe cases these changes strongly resemble senile dementia in old people, and can be very distressing for the dog and owner.

What can be done to help? It is important to realise there is no such thing as a cure for CDS. However a number of things can help.
  1. Drugs – the most commonly used drug is Selegiline .This is an enzyme blocker which increases levels of helpful chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine
  2. Diet- there has been a lot of research into “healthy brain” diets. As the brain ages it becomes less able to use glucose as fuel. By suppling diets that are rich in certain fats called medium chain triglycerides, we can fuel the older brain more efficiently. Also correct levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B C & E and other ingredients such as Arginine can improve blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and help reduce free radicals which damage the brain.
  3. Enrich the environment – It is important to give plenty of attention and interaction to geriatric pets. Most older dogs will still enjoy walks and play, although maybe not so energetically as they did in their youth. Make sure beds are comfy and warm as older dogs will spend more time in them. Puzzle type dog toys can also be useful just as Sudoku and crosswords are helpful in keeping our human brains active
Remember growing old is a natural process which comes to us all (hopefully) and the vast majority of dogs enjoy their geriatric years despite the occasional “senior moment”. Now where did I put my car keys?
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Health Issues in Older Cats: High Blood Pressure

Did you know cats can suffer from high blood pressure, just like humans? There are often no visible signs, but left untreated it can cause blindness and damage the heart or brain.

High blood pressure is more common in older cats, and those with certain medical conditions like kidney disease. We recommend that all cats over seven years old have their blood pressure checked yearly. Blood pressure is measured in cats using similar methods to that used for humans. It’s a quick and relatively straight forward procedure, you can even stay with your cat whilst it’s done.

To raise awareness of the importance of regular blood pressure checks, we are offering free Senior Health Checks with one of our registered veterinary nurses during November for cats over eight years old at our Stoke Road, Stony Stratford, Willen and Walnut Tree Branches. Please also remember that Tuesday and Thursday are our Cat Clinics at our Stoke Road branch, these cater specifically for your cats needs and minimise the stress they may experience when visiting us
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Senior Health Checks throughout November 2019

Free Senior Pet Health Checks in November!

As pets age, like us, they are likely to experience changes to their health and lifestyle. During the month of November we are promoting health care for our golden oldies with FREE health checks with our veterinary nurses! Cats and dogs over the age of 8 and rabbits over 7 are welcome to clinics at Walnut Tree, Stony Stratford, Stoke Road and Willen. Call us today to book in!

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Obesity in our older rabbits

When our rabbits become older they lead a slower pace of life, unless we monitor and adjust feeding patterns accordingly, there is a higher risk of pets gaining weight and becoming obese.

Obesity can be a contributing factor in the case of other conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and pododermatiitis.

It can also be dangerous in cases of anorexia as they will metabolise fat which can be lead to hepatic lipidosis.

Rabbits should have a diet of high fibre pellets, add lib grass, hay and greens to prevent obesity and to lose weight.
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How can I increase my cat’s water intake?

As our cats enter their elderly stages of life, they are at more risk of becoming dehydrated, therefore it is important to adapt your house for their needs.

There are some tips on increasing water intake in our cats:
  • Provide multiple water sources around the home.
  • Providing moving water sources (such as fountains)
  • Provide a variety of different cups and bowls
Cats are able to taste water and usually avoid stagnant water, so always ensure that water is fresh. You could try a variety of different waters including spring water, filtered water and tap water. If your cat is reluctant to drink then extra water can be added to their food to prevent dehydration from occurring.
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