Ageing pets

This week we saw several elderly pets in our clinic, with the oldest ones being an 18 year old dog and a 22 year old cat. This just goes to show that just like the human population is living longer so are our pets.

There are many different reasons for this but one aspect certainly is the continuously increasing standard of veterinary care.

The means of detecting disease are improving with a lot of clinics having their own blood testing machines to allow quick turn-around times. With blood and urine tests being done more frequently diseases are picked up in their early stages when they are easier and more successfully treatable. X-ray and ultrasound machines are available in many clinics as well allowing for accurate diagnoses in house, while more in depth diagnoses like MRT or CT scans are available at referral centres.

New and improved treatment methods and products are coming onto the market all the time and help make dealing with a certain condition easier. For instance there are specific foods for cats to treat hyperthyroidism ( a common disease of elderly cats ) making the use of tablets unnecessary.

Prevention is another large factor increasing our pets’ age. So much can be done to maintain good health in older age and prevent diseases from occurring.

There are special diets designed especially at the changing dietary needs of ageing pets. Regular vaccinations prevent infectious diseases which can shorten the life span, while regular worm, flea and tick treatment can prevent the transmission of infectious diseases and avoid organ damage.

The standard of veterinary care, disease diagnosis and treatment is nearing that of humans and therefore giving us many more years with our beloved companions.

Angela Ford

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