Getting Long in the Tooth


If you have an older cat or dog, age can sometimes be perceived as a barrier to treatment.  ‘She’s old so she’s not worth treating’ – I hope they don’t say that about me in times to come!

A decision to not go ahead with a treatment or procedure based on age itself is misplaced and contrary to animal welfare. 

Our pets have such varying longevity and it’s impossible to predict how long they’ll be with us – much like ourselves. They may live to 10 years, 15 years or, even 19-20 years is not uncommon these days. So to withhold treatment  for a 10 year old animal on the basis of age doesn’t make sense, when that pet could live for another 10 years.

If a pet is slowing down, is it just ‘old age’? Could it be arthritis or heart disease – both treatable.

<p”>Perhaps some dental work may be required, or a lump has appeared. Early intervention is always recommended, rather than waiting until the condition is severe or progressed beyond treatment.  Annual or 6 monthly check-ups and blood tests can pick up conditions early.

It’s a common myth that anaesthetic risk is increased by age. In fact studies have shown this not to be true. Factors that affect anaesthetic risk are mostly related to concurrent disease. So an older animal that is otherwise healthy isn’t at any more risk than a young healthy animal.

Addressing dental disease in an older cat or dog not only reduces oral pain, it is beneficial for animal’s wellbeing generally, improving nutrition and the function of organs like the heart, liver and kidneys.

Age is a perception, as many of those slightly longer in the tooth will know – we’re only as old as we feel.  And our pets won’t feel old if we keep them in tip top physical condition.

Angela Ford

F_R_OtakiVetOtaki Veterinary Centre

269 Mill Road, Otaki 06 364 6941

Angela Ford BVM&S MRCVS MACVSc Emma & Jen — Veterinary nurses

Mobile Vet service — we come to you 24 Hrs advice and emergency service — Ring 364 6941 Microchips scanned at no cost and replaced for free if required