It seems like from one day to the next my energetic, vibrant Labrador mix puppy became a stiff, slow-moving old man, and it hit me, he is a senior! To watch our pet’s age is so tough, it seems to arise quickly and we come to realize that their lifespan isn’t very long when it feels like they should be a part of our family forever.
Dogs and cats are very good at hiding signs of pain. Pets are incredibly tough and will power through things that would keep us humans off of our feet – they don’t want to miss a minute of the fun. One of the discomforts of ageing comes from pain in the joints, called arthritis. Reluctance to jump on and off of furniture or counters (very common in arthritic cats, they aren’t just all of a sudden well behaved J , it hurts), jumping in and out of vehicles, going up and down stairs, and difficulty finding a comfortable position to lie in are all signs of discomfort in an animal that has no other way to tell us how they are feeling.
Pain is not a localized event. For example just because a dog has arthritis in his hips doesn’t mean that it just affects his hips.
-> pain during movements -> less exercise -> muscle deterioration
-> trouble getting comfortable -> less sleep -> fatigue -> depression
-> hard time walking -> less walk/play with owner -> decreased social bond
The same goes for other kinds of pain commonly seen in our ageing pets. Illnesses like kidney and dental disease cause discomfort, decreased appetite, and decreased activity so every body system suffers and the dog or cat deteriorates more quickly than if the pain was being controlled.
Luckily there are plenty of things that can be done to help your pet with pain related to ageing. It is just a matter of recognizing that it is there and consulting with our veterinarians at Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital on how to best proceed. Advancements in veterinary medicine have produced so many amazing tools for diagnosing pain in your senior pet along with safe and effective treatments. Making it possible for us to give our pets the most comfortable golden years we can and keep them healthy, happy and pain-free!
Written by Amanda, RVT