“She’s slowing down” is the biggest problem we hear about senior pets. Most owners aren’t concerned about it. They expect it. But it’s a Big Red Flag to veterinarians. Sure, it could mean “just arthritis”, as most people assume. But, it could also mean a lot of other things! Things that can be treated!
WHAT ELSE CAN MAKE AN OLDER DOG SLOW DOWN?
- Internal diseases like kidney disease, liver disease
- HEART DISEASE
- Infections such as Valley Fever, Lyme’s disease, Heartworm disease
All of these conditions can and should be treated to give your older pup happy, comfortable Golden Years.
X-rays will help determine whether a senior pet has arthritis. The joints most commonly affected are the hips and knees, but the spine is also often involved. Small breeds with short, “twisty” front legs and other dogs with limbs deformities will often have arthritis in those abnormal joints.
If radiographs aren’t revealing, ask your vet to check your dog’s heart– especially if your pup is a large or giant breed! Heart disease in large breed dogs causes rear end weakness that can look just like arthritis! (When the heart can’t pump enough blood to the back of the body, muscles get weak and waste away, just like in arthritis!)
If Heartworm disease is common in your area, this can cause weakness due to the heart disease the worms cause.
Any form of general illness can cause weakness. For instance, Valley Fever is common in the desert southwest and can be a slowly progressive, insidious disease that causes a dog to just feel weak and sick. Ask you vet if your pet might have any diseases common to your part of the country.
Metabolic diseases common in the senior years like Kidney disease and Liver disease also make a dog just feel lousy and lazy, just as they do in humans.
Help Your Pet Live Life to its Fullest!
Don’t let your older dog slow down without knowing why! There is so much that can be done for all of these conditions to help dogs feel better, be more active, and be a part of the family again! Insist that your vet explore the possibilities and don’t settle for “it’s just arthritis”!