30 years ago it was the expectation that our canine and feline companions would live to 12 or 13 years of age and it was uncommon for life beyond this. Today it is reasonable to expect them to live up to several years longer than this . Humans in the western world in the same time frame have also had significant improvement in life expectancy.
In animals we can attribute this to many factors that include improved knowledge of companion animal nutritional needs, improved diets, improved veterinary knowledge of disease, improved access to knowledge, improved knowledge of disease prevention, improved conveyance of this knowledge to clients, and improved medications and treatments and more frequent application of these treatments. There are improved laboratory tests, improved diagnostic aids, improved surgery outcomes etc.
Many diseases can be detected early at the annual health examination. Often the signs of ill health are not detected by the owner, or may be noticed but dismissed as simply old age.
• Heavy breathing • shortness of breath or coughing • Exercise intolerance • Loss of appetite • Increase in appetite • Increase in thirst • Weight loss • Vomiting • Pain in activity • Lumps • Hair loss • Diarrhoea • Seizures • Poor coordination • Difficulty urinating or defaecating • Sudden Loss of vision • Mouth odour • Difficulty eating • Incontinence • Weakness/Lethargy.
It would be a good idea to present your companion for a good check up if any of these signs are noted.
Some of the more common diseases and conditions that we are confronted with associated with aging include periodontal disease, congestive heart failure, chronic respiratory disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease, liver disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancers, intervertebral disc disease, cognitive dysfunction, blindness, skin disorders and vestibular disease.
It may just require a urine or blood test to enable a valuable assessment of your pet’s health.
Prescription diets, medications, management practices, dental and surgical procedures are probably available to prolong good health and better comfort.