As your dog becomes a senior, it is important to know what health issues he or she may face. A senior dog has special needs. Some are breed specific, many are the result of something called old age. In either case, you need to recognize the indications and be prepared to deal with these potential health problems. If you understand the issues, you will be able to help your dog thrive in and not just live through this phase of live.
There are several common problems facing an elderly dog. Some are more prevalent than others are. At the top of the list, affecting dogs with various degrees of severity is arthritis.
There are various possible forms of arthritis. The most common types are Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Bone Disease, Myostis and Spondylosis . The effected parts are the rear end and along the spine. Causal factors include nutritional deficiency, previous injuries and weight. Genetics also plays a role. Certain breeds are more prone to suffer from arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is indicated when a dog has difficulty rising. A dog will be cautious in executing many of the simplest movements. A dog may not jump up or show unwillingness in doing so. There is hesitation in climbing up on the bed or the couch. There is even some difficulty in climbing up the steps.
You cannot eliminate osteoarthritis. You can only manage it. You can reduce the pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs provide some relief. Other methods include acupuncture and massage. How effective the latter two methods are remains to be seen. If they appear to provide some relief, use them.
There is another factor helpful in decreasing problems. Make sure your dog is not overweight. The less weight Pyrrha has to haul around, the easier it is on swollen joints. This will mean watching the diet of your dog. Another way is to ensure you maintain an exercise regime. This is not to be too strenuous for your senior dog. Movement actually eases the stiffness of the joints. Hydrotherapy may also be of assistance in this matter.
One other treatment some “experts” suggest for dealing with your dog’s osteoarthritis is to give him or her Nutrient supplements. These are sometimes called Nutraceuticals. These are nondrug substances produced in an extracted or purified form. You administer it in a liquid form.
Nutraceuticals include Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, Vitamin C and other antioxidants. There are only limited studies on the effectiveness of these pills. Vets do recommend the use of the better ones. The supplements cannot cure osteoarthritis. They can, however, help ease the pain. They are safe for your dog to ingest.
Nutraceutical supplements can come in pill form. The most common delivery system, though, is your dog’s pet food. It is the easiest and most convenient form to ensure your dog gets the right amount of nutritional supplement.
Another type of arthritis is Spondylosis. This is arthritis in the spine. Spondylosis can affect the larger breeds of dogs. This includes Labradors, Boxers and German Shepherds. Dogs suffering from this form of Arthritis may have an arched back. There is no cure. You need to use the same methods of treatment for Osteoarthritis. Some vets believe exercise is very important in reducing the pain and discomfort of the disease. Do so only on a leash. A vet may also recommend Neutroceuticals alternating them with medications.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Another form of it is Myostis. Unlike some forms, Myostis is the result of a previous injury. If your dog collides with a car or falls and breaks a leg, he or she may suffer from Myostis.
With this type of arthritis, the animal has sensitive areas and sore spots. The treatment is similar to the other types of arthritis. Anti-inflammatories are the drug of choice. In addition, mild exercise, massaging of the sore and affected joints and acupuncture may help relieve the pain.