A geriatric dog will have more needs and care requirements than younger, more active dogs. It is important to address potential health problems in older dogs before they occur. Here is a list of signs to look for that may reveal your dog may not be feeling well or may need proper medical attention.
Excessive Water Consumption
When a dog begins to drink excessive amounts of water, it is usually an indication that something is wrong; excessive water consumption can be an indicator of diabetes mellitus, adrenal hormone imbalance (Cushing’s disease), urinary tract infection, diabetes insipidus, uterine infection/pyometra or medicinal side effects.
On average, your dog should drink about 1 cup of water for every 8-10kg of body weight per day. Although your dog may, of course, consume more water during very hot days, pay attention to the amount she consumes on a normal day. If your dog is consuming abnormally large amounts of waters on a continuous basis, it may be a symptom of a larger problem.
While petting or stroking your animal, always be conscious of any abnormalities in or under the skin. If you feel a lump or cyst, trim the hair around the area for better access to inspection. Lumps on dogs can be malignant, but the only way to know for sure will be to perform a biopsy or an aspiration of cells with a needle.
Coughing, wheezing or breathing problems could indicate that there is a cardiovascular or lung problem with a geriatric dog.
Lazy or Lethargic Dog
All dogs experience a decrease in energy levels as they become older; moreover, older dogs tire more easily and take more naps than younger, more active dogs. However, if your dog sleeps excessively, shows signs of not being able to rise from a nap or has restricted mobility, your dog may be suffering from an acute form of arthritis that is common among older dogs. Arthritis is painful, however, there are medications and alternative treatments available that help offer relief to your dog for these types of conditions.
Changes in Vision
As your dog gets older, it is normal for him to develop a hazy, bluish appearance in its eyes. More often than not, this will not affect the eyesight of your dog at all; however, if your dog develops a hazy, white colored film like substance in the eyes, this often cataracts that can eventually lead to blindness in dogs.
Use the 5 signs above as a guide for what to be aware of as your dog ages. If you notice any of the symptoms above, bring your dog to the Vet for an accurate diagnosis and potential treatment. By Dr. Ruan Du Toit Bester
Hope this info helps
Till next week
Dr Ruan Bester
Ask the Vet: Royal Veterinary Centre
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