Common Health Issues

What to do in emergency

In a perfect world, we would never have to deal with emergencies – but unfortunately they do happen. However, by staying calm and properly evaluating the situation, you can make your dog more comfortable and may even speed his recovery. Remember, after any injury you should bring your dog to the vet immediately. Your dog might seem fine after an accident, but may be bleeding internally. Before you head to the veterinary hospital, have someone call the hospital to let the staff know that are on your way with an emergency. This will give them time to prepare for your arrival. A Gentle Muzzle If your dog is injured, you will need to bring him to the vet as quickly as possible. If he’s conscious, it’s very important that you first muzzle him. No matter how gentle your dog normally is, he will be in pain and frightened- and fear can cause even the mildest mannered dog to become a biter. [An important exception: do not muzzle your dog if he is vomiting or having difficulty breathing]. To make a makeshift muzzle, all you need is pantyhose, a necktie or gauze (about 12-24 inches in length). If you’re outside, you can even use his leash. With one of these items, tie a loose knot in the middle leaving a large loop. Calmly approach your dog from behind and gently slip the loop over his snout. Then pull it snugly – but not too tightly. Knot the ends under his chin, then bring the ends around his neck and tie them behind his ears and examine his injuries. Common Injuries Here are some tips for treating common injuries. Heatstroke: Take your dog to a cool spot and gently sponge him with cool – not cold – water. Also, encourage him to drink small amounts of cool water. Heatstroke can be life threatening, so be sure to bring your dog to the vet immediately. Bleeding: Apply pressure to his wounds with a rolled up shirt, sanitary napkin, gauze or a handkerchief to slow down or stop the bleeding. Burn: Quickly put the burn under cold running water. The easiest way to cool a burn is with the garden house. Just keep the faucet pressure low. If your dog has a chemical burn, flush the affected area with water. Poison: Call poison control or your vet to determine if your should induce vomiting. Also, be sure to take the poisonous substance with you. This will help your vet determine the best treatment plan. Choking: At any sign of choking (gagging, pawing at the mouth, drooling, difficulty swallowing). Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it. Frostbite: Bring your dog to a warm location. Then gently apply warm moist towels to frostbitten areas. Like humans, dogs can go into shock after a serious accident. So be sure to cover him up and keep him warm. And remember, older dogs have weaker immune systems, so even small cuts can cause health complications. If your dog is injured, always seek veterinary assistance.

CPR for dog

You could save your dog’s life if you know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

The ABC of CPR

You must follow the ABCs: airway, breathing and circulation in that order.

It’s dangerous to apply CPR to an animal if he’s breathing normally and has a pulse, so you must check your dog’s breathing and pulse before commencing. Check his breathing by looking to see if his chest is rising and falling (or you can place a mirror in front of his nose to check for condensation). To find his pulse, put your hand on the left side of his chest to feel if the heart is still beating.

Airway

If your dog has stopped breathing, lay him on his side and make sure that his throat and mouth are clear of any objects or mucous that may be preventing breathing. Be careful as your dog may bite down instinctively on any object placed in his mouth. If you find any blockage, remove it. Then pull your dog’s tongue out of his mouth, so it doesn’t block the airway.

Breathing

If your dog is breathing, allow him to assume the most comfortable position for him. If he isn’t breathing, you can begin to perform artificial respiration. Do this by making sure that the dog’s neck is not over-extended, then wrap one hand over his entire mouth, wrap your lips around his nose and breathe slow, even breaths into his nose until he starts breathing.

It’s hard to remain calm and count accurately when you’re trying to save your dog’s life, but the rule of thumb is 20 breaths per minute for dogs over 30 pounds. And 20 – 30 breaths per minute for dogs weighing less than 30 pounds.

Circulation

This is the final step of CPR and should only be attempted after the airway and breathing steps have been completed. If you can’t feel a pulse, you can leave your dog on his side, provided he’s on a hard surface. For a barrel-chested breed such as a bulldog, CPR is best done with the animal on his back. You then need to kneel down and place your hands either side of your pet’s chest (approximately the middle of the rib cage) and press down in even, steady beats. Stop after a minute and check for a pulse. If there isn’t one, continue.

For dogs under 30 pounds, you should compress the chest about 1 inch at a rate of two times per second. Or 5 compressions for every breath.

For dogs 30 – 100 pounds, you need to compress the chest 2 – 3 inches at a rate of 1.5 – 2 times per second. Or 5 compressions for each breath.

For dogs over 100 pounds, perform CPR as for a large dog, but compress the chest about once per second. Or 10 compressions for every breath.

Try to perform CPR until you reach a vet, or a vet reaches you. If possible, you should call ahead and tell the vet that the animal is in respiratory arrest with a foreign body/airway obstruction and/or cardiac arrest. 

Loose motion/Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a merely a sign and may result from many disorders. It is common in growing puppies, Most acute cases are related to diet and usually recover fast with symptomatic treatment. Overfeeding and eating inappropriate things are some of other common causes in vaccinated puppies. Protozoal infections like giardiasis in young dogs are easy to manage and cure, while some require fecal examination or special tests to confirm the diagnosis. We suggest to avoid feeding milk or cereals during this time and feed highly digestible food like rice or boiled eggs. In contrast to acute problems, chronic ones are rarely self-limiting and it is usually essential to establish specific diagnosis and appropriate therapy. Make sure he always get plenty of fresh clean water. Regular Vaccination and deworming should be part of preventive health care. Please take him to vet if loose motion does not stop or if your pet shows any signs of dehydration or fever.

Vomiting

Vomiting is   a merely a sign and may result from many disorders ( digestive and non digestive like kidney, liver etc). Most vomiting cases are acute and reversible requiring only supportive and symptomatic therapy. Generally it is advised to withhold food and water for at least 24 hours and introduce highly digestible food like rice, avoiding high fat diets. In contrast to acute problems, chronic ones are rarely self-limiting and it is usually essential to establish specific diagnosis (with help from Lab tests/investigations) and appropriate therapy.

Obesity

Obesity is the most common canine nutritional disease in this country, occurring in up to 25% of dogs. While the many problems associated with weight gain are frightening, it’s reassuring to know that by keeping your dog at a reasonable weight, you can reduce his chances of diabetes, heart disease, orthopedic problems, and possibly even cancer.

To determine whether your dog is overweight, stand over him and check for a waist—a visible indentation behind his ribs. All dogs, regardless of breed should have a waist. Then give him a hands-on test. Can you feel his ribs? They shouldn’t be sticking out, but you should be able to find them through a layer of skin and muscle, and be able to easily count them. If all you feel is rolls of fat, it’s time to begin a diet and exercise plan.

Feed your dog properly

If you feed your dog a prepared pet food, the label on the package will provide a guideline as to how much to feed daily. These recommendations are a guideline only and you should make adjustments according to your dog’s individual needs. Don’t forget to take into account the calories in treats and other tidbits he eats—they shouldn’t make up more than 10% of his daily calorie intake.

Get enough exercise

Try to exercise your dog as much as he is able. The more muscle he maintains, the more calories he’ll burn and less fat he’ll carry. Not only that, but when you fill his time with fun activities, he’ll spend less time hanging around the food bowl. This increased activity won’t just benefit your dog, it will benefit you.

Simple weight loss tips

  • Instruct family members and visitors not to give your dog any treats or table scraps.
  • Don’t give your dog one heaping bowl of food that he can eat whenever he wants. Instead, give him two to four small measured meals a day so you can regulate his portions.
  • Start keeping a record of your dog’s weight. If possible, weigh him once a week.
  • If you have more than one dog, feed them separately. That way, your overweight dog won’t have access to that “second helping.”
  • To keep him from begging for food, feed your dog before you have your own meals.
  • If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure that all of your garbage cans have secure covers. (That applies to indoor garbage cans, too!)
  • Keep lots of clean, fresh water available.

Finally, be sure to take your dog to your veterinarian for a checkup and expert advice. Your vet may give you guidelines on exercise appropriate for your dog’s age and health as well as specific advice on how much he should be eating. He can also check for, and treat, any weight-related problems.

False pregnancy

Phantom or False pregnancy are not uncommon in unneutered bitch and occurs generally about 70 -80 days after the start of her season. Symptoms vary between individual bitches from mild to severe and may include, some or all of the following

Reluctance to eat, Nest making, Nursing or guarding inanimate objects (toy etc), swollen mammary glands, Milk production, general distress, Nervous signs including panting and breathlessness and change in temperament (some may snap). The good news is that your bitch should be back to normal in 2-3 weeks time, however, there are few things which you can do to help her : to help to reduce milk production, reduce water intake slightly and feed less carbohydrates and increase exercise. Remove the toys/objects, which she’s nursing, and remove her bed during the day so that she can’t nest. If the symptoms are severe and these actions don’t seem to help, then it may be necessary for your vet to give her some hormone/Medical therapy in form of tablets or injections. Your vet even suggests a mild sedative if she is very distressed. As she has already had one false pregnancy, she may more likely to have others she may experience more severe symptoms. I would suggest that you discuss with your vet the pros and cons of neutering(spaying) if you are not planning to breed from your bitch

Kidney failure

Your pet may be diagnosed with chronic renal failure. Chronic renal failure is one of the most common medical problems in older dogs and is a leading cause of death in these pets Chronic renal failure develops over several months or years, so the changes you see may be subtle. Chronic renal failure is a long-term decline in kidney function. It is the final outcome of many diseases of the kidney and of the body that affect the kidney. Once chronic renal failure develops, it cannot be reversed and is usually progressive. Any measure, therefore, that helps prevent /delays or slows the progression of the disease will help a pet live longer. Management goals are to reduce the workload of the kidneys, treat secondary problems, and improve the quality. Therapy is tailored to the individual patient but usually includes hospitalization, intravenous therapy to flush accumulated wastes from the blood stream and other drugs to help prevent   complications. Therapy may take days to weeks, sometimes involving regular hemodialysis. Periodical monitoring of kidney function (blood tests) during therapy help vet to provide you likely prognosis and quality of his life.

Once your pet returns home, it needs special attention and care. Your veterinarian will also recommend a well-balanced special food like royal canine for your pet with reduced amounts of protein, phosphorus, and sodium.

Hair loss/Shedding

Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint in our country in dogs with skin disorders and results from number of causes. Unlike human beings, Hair growth cycle is different. for eg., Hair do not grow continuously in dogs. Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics, health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and therefore, can be physiological. Dogs also may shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying cause/s (like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection etc) and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications that will eliminate the cause and therefore hair fall. Hair contains 65-90% proteins, with remainder being water, lipids, pigments and trace elements.Hair do not grow continuously but rather in cycles in dogs. Hair alone takes away approximately 30% of protein from the diet for its health. Hence Balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. Evening Primrose oil capsules( 1 cap per day) OR Sunflower oil/saffola oil/corn oil 2-4 tsp and Zinc capsules everyday in the feed which may also help him to improve his hair coat in the short term when no underlying cause identified.

Flatulence

Most of the gas that forms in the intestine comes from air swallowed during eating or through panting. Some gases are formed from bacterial fermentation of poorly digested carbohydrate or fiber in the colon. Also, malodorous gas may be generated by metabolic disturbances in the breakdown of food components. While it’s a natural part of your dog’s digestive process, the tendency to pass gas increases as your dog ages. There are a number of ways you can help decrease your dog’s intestinal gas: Check your dog food label. Many dog foods contain soy, which can be hard to digest. Cut out table scraps. Exercise not only helps move intestinal gas, it may also simulate bowel movements. Raise your dog’s food dish. Elevating your dog’s dish means he’s not bending his neck down as far, which can lead to swallowing too much air. Therapy is directed toward reducing the carbohydrate content of the diet, reducing gas surface-active tension, reducing intestinal bacterial colonization, and improving gut motility. The combination of Yucca schidigera, Zinc acetate or charcoal may help to reduce malodor of flatus in dogs as shown in a study at Waltham

Convalescing dog

If your dog has been ill or had an operation, you’ll have to give him some special care and attention. This article is a guide to what you need to the dietary and medical needs of a recovering dog.

While your dog is recovering from illness or surgery, he will need extra care and attention. You may have to give medicine, keep an eye on the surgical wound, or change bandages. Nutrition and feeding are really important. Your pet may need to eat special food, and you may have to coax him to eat. But your extra attention will help him recover.

We’ll take a look at the special needs of your dog during convalescence-and at what you can do to make

Your dog needs sleep, rest and peace

While he’s recovering, your dog may feel weak, and tire easily. He’ll probably spend more time than usual resting or sleeping. But don’t worry; this is a natural reaction to illness or surgery. It means your dog is conserving energy while his tissues heal and his body gets back to normal.

Your dog’s special dietary needs

Good nutrition is especially important for a dog who’s been ill, injured, had an operation, or not eaten in several days. If he doesn’t eat properly at this time, his wounds may not heal right away, and he’s more likely to get an infection. Supplying the right amount of high-quality nutrients also prevents your dog’s body from using its own important tissues as energy sources.

All dogs need to eat a nutritionally balanced diet. And when a dog is convalescing, he needs all the essential nutrients–proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins– in the correct proportions. Since the balance of nutrients he needs may change, his normal diet may not provide the correct balance.

While he’s recovering, a dog may have a poor appetite, and you may need to encourage him to eat. Your vet may prescribe a special diet that covers all of your dog’s dietary needs in a concentrated form and is particularly tempting for a sick animal.

The medical needs of a convalescing dog
You need to keep a close eye on your dog while he’s convalescing. Stroke and groom him gently, and look for any changes in his coat or skin. If he has an injury or has had surgery, check to see if this area has any redness or discharge. Watch for any weight loss or gain, lumps or swelling, vomiting or diarrhea. Tell your vet right away if you notice these signs or anything else unusual.

You may need to give your dog medicine while he’s convalescing, to help him recover from an illness, or to prevent infection in a wound or injury. Or, if your dog has been injured, you may have to look after dressings. Please ask your vet for advice on how to do these things.

Here are some of the special skills and care your dog may need

Giving medicines to your dog

Always remember to give the full course of the treatment of any drug your vet prescribes. Don’t stop giving the medicine because your dog seems better. This may cause your dog to become worse, and may make future treatments harder. If you think your dog is reacting badly to any drug, get advice from your vet right away.

Your vet can show you how to give the medicine. Try to give tablets as gently as possible to your dog, and praise or reward him after he’s swallowed the medication. If your dog is eating, you may be able to give some medication in his food. Your vet can tell you if you should do this.

Caring for dressings

Your dog may need bandages, splints, casts and other dressings if he’s recovering from an injury or surgery. These may be put on to protect the wound from dirt or to discourage your dog’s natural tendency to lick a wound.

If you have a young, energetic dog, he can easily forget about splints and casts when he’s having an exciting time playing a game with other dogs or people. If this is a problem, you may have to keep your pet away from other animals or stop him from playing.

You can make sure the dressing stays clean and dry by keeping your dog away from dirt and water, especially puddles.

When to contact your veterinary practice

You may find you don’t know exactly when to get in touch with your veterinary surgeon. To help you figure this out, here’s a list of signs worth reporting:

Collapse or convulsions.

 Increased frequency of urination, increased amounts of urine produced, or urination in the house by a previously house-trained dog.

  •  Greatly increased thirst and water intake.
  •  Persistent cough or abnormal breathing.
  •  Diarrhea or vomiting that lasts for more than 24 hours.
  •  Loss of appetite for longer than 24 hours.
  •  Weakness or lethargy.
  •  Swelling, bad odor, or change in color of the skin around a dressing.
  •  If a dressing slips out of place, falls off, or is chewed off.
  •  If your dog is determined to chew a dressing or lick a wound.
  •  Lameness or a change in the way your pet walks or runs.
  •  If your dog is in obvious discomfort.
  • Persistent head shaking, excessive scratching, pawing at ears, or rubbing his hindquarters along the ground may be signs of distress.
  • Feeding during convalescence
    Convalescent dogs often have special dietary needs, and you may need to coax them to eat.

What to feed dogs while they’re recovering

Because good nutrition is particularly vital while a pet is recovering from illness, injury or surgery, your vet may prescribe a special diet for your dog. This diet will include all the nutrients and energy a convalescent dog needs, and may be in a more concentrated form.

A concentrated diet is important for a dog with a decreased appetite so that he’ll receive all the nutrients he needs even if he eats less than normally. Your vet may recommend a liquid diet as a source of complete nutrition or as a complement to the diet.

If your dog has been fed a concentrated diet in hospital, your veterinary surgeon may want you to continue this diet at home while your dog is convalescing.

Your dog should always have access to clean, fresh drinking water. If he can’t move around at all, you may need to take special care to make sure he has water right at hand (or paw).

How to encourage your dog to eat

Concentrated diets prescribed by your vet are specially formulated to tempt an unwell dog to eat, but you may still have to give some extra encouragement. Here are a few suggestions on how to do this:

 Feed your dog small amounts, often. Divide the daily allowance of food into any small meals of fresh food.

 Warm the food gently to just below body temperature. Don’t try to give your dog food that’s very hot.

 Leave the food beside your dog for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then remove it if he seems to have no interest in it. He’s more likely to eat fresh food if you offer it to him later on.

 Some dogs have exotic tastes and may like flavorings such as garlic powder. Ask your vet what flavorings would be fine to use in your dog’s food.

Chocolate Poisoning

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine (similar to caffeine) which is poisonous to dogs and cats (though cats are less likely to eat chocolate). Theobromine is also present in cocoa beans, cola, and tea.

The dog only needs to ingest a relatively small amount of theobromine to cause poisoning symptoms, approximately 90-250mg of theobromine per kg body weight. An average 100gm bar of plain chocolate will be sufficient to poison a small dog. Cocoa beans contain the highest level of Theobromine (approximately 43mg/gm) whereas white chocolate contains the lowest amount (approximately O.009mg/gm).

When the dog ingests Theobromine, it causes a release of epinephrine (adrenaline) which causes the heart to race and the heart rate can become irregular. Clinical signs that you may see in a dog with chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivation and thirst, hyperactivity followed by depression and coma, seizures. It is potentially fatal. Absorption of the chocolate can be slow, so there may be some delay between the eating of the chocolate and the dog showing the symptoms of poisoning. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, call your vet immediately.

There is no antidote for theobromine poisoning, so treatment involves inducing vomiting, as this will help the dog expel the chocolate and reduce the amount he digests. The vet may also give charcoal, as this can reduce the absorption of the chocolate remaining in the stomach and intestines. Drugs to stabilise the heart may be necessary as well as intravenous fluids and drugs to prevent shock.

Dogs can be very determined if they can smell chocolate, so it is best to keep chocolate and other products containing theobromine out of reach and advise friends and children to give treats which are suitable for dogs to eat. There are specially formulated dog chocolates available that are safe for dogs.

 

Care of Senior dog

Due to improvements in pet nutrition and veterinary medicine, dogs today are frequently living to very old ages. This leads to an increasing number of senior dogs (those over ten years of age, or six years for some giant breeds) in the pet population. As a rough guide a dog can be considered senior when it enters the last third of its predicted lifespan. As dogs get older the ageing process affects them in much the same way as humans. Senior dogs represent over 40% of all dogs and is an even bigger percentage of smaller dogs who live longer and are more often “treated” by coddling owners. No scientific data on senior pets exists in India

Signs of aging

Moving more slowly.

Like humans, dogs can develop orthopedic problems, like arthritis, that are more common in older pets. If your dog is taking longer to get up or has problems with stairs, take him to the vet to determine the cause and talk about medications that can make him more comfortable.

 Your dog is thinner or fatter.

A few issues can cause weight gain or loss: a dog’s metabolism will naturally slow down as she ages, and she may be exercising less now. Dental problems can cause weight loss if it’s painful for your dog to eat. In either case, see your vet to rule out serious problems and to find out how to adjust her diet and exercise schedule to something more age-appropriate.

 A haze over the eyes.

Elderly humans also experience changes to their eyes. A bluish haze over your dog’s eyes does not affect his sight and is a harmless sign of aging. However, a white haze over his eyes could be a symptom of cataracts. See your vet immediately with any eye changes to diagnose and offer treatment options.

 Unexplained barking or a slower response to commands.

If you find you need to repeat commands to your dog, when you didn’t have to previously, or if he barks or appears startled for no reason, he may have hearing problems.

 Problems with vision.

You may not even notice that your dog’s vision is changing if it happens slowly. Sight-impaired or blind dogs generally adjust well to the loss of their vision. However quickly or slowly it may happen, once you notice, take your dog to the vet to make sure it’s not a sign of anything serious. Also, as with hearing loss, be more attentive when walking your dog. She may become disoriented or afraid more easily now in unfamiliar environments.

 Lumpy fatty deposits.

These may or may not be harmless. It’s important to see your vet to find out if they are lipomas, which are benign fatty tumors that come with age.

 A change in coat texture and color.

Unfortunately, like humans, dogs lose the luster and color of their coats as they age. Brushing and grooming your dog often can help her maintain the shine in her coat. However, if you notice a darkening and dryness in her skin that doesn’t improve with treatment, see your vet, as it may be a sign of hypothyroidism, which is treatable.

 A heavier sleep.

Older dogs sleep more soundly and more hours than young dogs. Make sure you don’t use this as an excuse not to walk him! Older dogs still need to exercise, albeit in smaller but more frequent sessions.

 Canine confusion.

Dogs sometimes develop age-related dementia, as humans do. He may be more short-tempered, confused, or appear not to know familiar people or places. See your vet if your dog is behaving differently than he used to behave.

Slowing the aging process

Is there any way to help counteract the aging process on any of these fronts, be it with medication, vitamins, or other factors of his care? You can ease your dog into a happy old age, where he needn’t feel any different than he did before. Here are important tips on keeping your elderly dog in young-dog shape:

  1. Safety is most important.
    Your dog can hurt himself more easily now, as he may not be able to move, see or hear as well as he used to. Watch for hazards in your yard and home, and if you let your dog run free at dog parks, make sure he doesn’t get knocked over by a rambunctious pup.2. Watch your dog’s weight.
    Your dog should always have a noticeable waist.3. Take care of his teeth.
    Be sure to brush his teeth regularly, and give him snacks that are specifically designed to keep his teeth clean while he chews. Consult your vet for a thorough oral care regimen.4. Feed him the appropriate dog food, and only dog food.
    (Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.) A balanced diet is vital for a dog to stay healthy. Also, measure his food to make sure you’re not feeding him too much or too little.5. Get your dog vaccinated and visit the veterinarian regularly.
    When your dog starts exhibiting the signs of aging, it’s time to start seeing the vet every six months. (However, he does not need to be vaccinated every six months.)

    6. Give supplements and medication only as prescribed by your vet.
    Some supplements may help him stay alert and healthy, but don’t take guesses about your dog’s health. Your vet will know what’s appropriate in the right doses for his age and breed.

    7. Exercise your dog regularly. Exercise your dog regularly.
    The amount and type of exercise he requires depends on the size and/or breed of dog. It helps him stay limber and also gives him a chance to relieve himself, which he needs to do more often now that he’s older. Try shorter, more frequent walks.
    Before and After Exercise
    A few extra tips to keep in mind when considering your older dog and exercise:

 Feed him the best quality food.

 Exercise him before he eats and then wait 30 minutes before feeding him.

 Give him a comfortable place to rest, such as an orthopedic bed.

 Offer small amounts of water frequently after exercise, instead of allowing him to gulp a large bowl full.

  1. Stimulate your dog’s intellect.
    New toys, new walking routes, and new training challenges all help him exercise his brain and stay interested.

If we’re lucky, all our dogs will become happy, healthy old dogs. With the right care, you can make sure your dog has many happy days ahead!

Feeding : The energy requirement of senior dogs is approximately 20% less than that of young adults. The decrease in energy requirement is linked to declines in activity and changes in body composition. The energy requirement of senior dogs should be calculated using the formula: 90 W 0.75 kcal, where W is the bodyweight in kg. Consequently all minima for nutrients have been increased by at least 22% to ensure that the correct amount of nutrient is available with lower energy intake. Studies conducted at WALTHAMâ Centre indicate that muscle mass in dogs declines with age and therefore there is a valid basis for increasing the dietary protein minimum by 22% to minimise the loss of lean tissue with age as well as taking into account for the decrease in energy intake. The incorporation of highly digestible/high quality protein is also recommended for senior dogs on this basis. Protein supplied in excess of requirements is simply converted to energy and stored or utilised as such. There are no recommended maximum protein intakes for dogs. Concerns that high protein intakes might be related to the development of renal disease have proved unfounded and there is no justification for restricting protein levels in senior dogs.. The Pet food senior pet food is formulated considering the above and with object of helping senior dogs to enhance their life expectancy, improving quality of life and help their body to prevent age associated health problems. Antioxidants, Green lipped mussel for joint health, Prebiotics (MOS) and omega fatty acids are supplemented for functional benefits in the senior dogs

Care of Senior dogs

As well as cognitive and physical changes, it is not uncommon for owners to notice behavioural changes in their dogs as they age, such as changes in their food or bedding preferences or toilet or sleeping habits. Due to these changes, the care of elderly dogs may need to be adapted to take account their different needs. At the WALTHAMâ Centre ,we know our senior dogs are special and each one receives a specific care program tailored to their individual needs as they age. For example, One of the most important changes in the care of senior dogs is the type of socialisation and exercise they receive. As they become older quiet human socialisation often becomes more important than long walks or excitable play with other dogs and so they receive plenty of extra one on one contact with their human carers. Senior dogs frequently spend periods of time in office areas where they can sit quietly in the company of humans, receiving the odd bit of fuss when people break off their work. As they get older they may become less mobile and so their exercise requirements change. Gentle exercise is still beneficial to the health and wellbeing of older dogs, but whereas the younger dogs love to go on long walks and have toys thrown to fetch, senior dogs are given much shorter more sedate walks and are allowed to go at their own pace.

The generalized changes associated with aging changes include dryness of all tissues, progressive degeneration of organ function, tissue hypoxia, cellular membrane alterations, decreased enzyme systems, decreased immune competence, and definite personality alterations. These progressive changes represent the complex interactions aging has on bodily functions however considerable individual variation exists even with litter mates. Several studies have shown that geriatric pets are often too thin. The issue is whether this low body condition score is the result of some underlying disease state or just “normal’ aging seen in dogs, cats and humans. Common age-related causes of insidious weight loss include metabolic diseases, cardiac failure, cancer, and maldigestion. Decreases in muscle mass and partial age-related inappetance can be “normal”. Despite the category, a decreased or picky appetite needs to be investigated The AAHA came out with Senior Care guidelines and a copy can be found on their website; http://aahanet.org/. or JAAHA March/April 2005, Vol. 41, pp81-91

Health assessment utilizing a medical, behavioral and dietary history along with a complete age related physical examination (eg. joints, liumps and bumps, dental, cardiac, weight loss) is a must for any senior pet. This is followed by minimum database ( CBC, Biochem and radiographs) appropriate for our practice. The goal of Senior Care should be to optimize the quality of life for the older pet, using preventative health care combined with State of the art diagnostics and therapies

Partial list of senility changes in dogs

Age related Conditions Preventive health care examples
Thermoregulation Deceased in the aging dog, more prone to heat stroke. Likewise,age-related cold intolerance is often attributed to less SC fats, decreased basal metabolic rate, decreased cardiac output and decreases in peripheral vaso-constriction. Action : Thyroid evaluation, warm bedding and outdoor garments, Right feeding
The Skin some degree of pigment loss (graying), hyperkeratosis, follicular atrophy, and decreased sebum production. The nails become longer and more brittle. Action : Increased grooming, less bathing, post-bathing conditioners, topical oils or moisture sprays, and essential fatty acid nutritional supplements.(senior Pet food)
Progressive loss of muscle mass related to a combination of inactivity combined with a decrease in muscle cell numbers due to fibrosis, atrophies of existing muscle cells, and decrease sensitivity to ATP. Action : Systemic or oral anabolic steroids combined with increased dietary protein and a sensible exercise program. ( senior Pet food)
Decreases in hearing and vision changes in behavior patterns. Complete auditory and eye examination required. Action : DD sensory dysfunctions v/s CDS. Nucleus or lenticular sclerosis vs cataract
Progressive functional renal nephron loss Check for urine specific gravity, BUN/ Creatinine, Urine PC ratio and persistent micro-albuminuira. This baseline testing or the concept of repeated monitoring is helpful in “predicting” the renal patients. Careful selection of Drugs and anaesthetics.
Liver : Fatty infiltration or damage to cells Variable signs. Baseline testing or Repeat monitoring of enzymes and proteins and consider what is “normal” for aged pet
Top illness in senior dogs Related to tumours, Orthopaedic, Cardiovascular, Renal, Endocrine/metabolic, Dental, Neuro, Digestive and immunity. Action :   At least 2 vet visits in a year for ECG, Radio, CBC and Biochem for   healthy senior dog. Senior Pet food diet with Antioxidants, Green lipped mussel, Prebiotics and Denta stix chews

 Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) : CDS is a progressive disease syndrome of older dogs associated with some brain pathology that results in commonly recognized group of behavioral changes. The clinical signs in older patients are related to impaired mental function commonly referred to as “senility, dementia, or doggy Alzheimer’s disease”. Impairments in memory, learning, perception and/or awareness are common. CDS is a progressive disease of the brain in older dogs associated with changes in behaviour. The common clinical signs of CDS found in the acronym DISH. The D= disorientation / confusion: the I = decreased interactions with family or housemates; the S= Sleep cycle disturbances; and the H= house soiling. Numerous other products are advocated as effective neuroprotectants agents including nutritional supplements vitamins E, C and zinc; other antioxidant compounds; anabolic steroids; and selegilline. Geriatric anxiety is defined as a fear that is out of proportion to the stimulus. Signs include trembling, salivation, pacing, vocalization, destructive behavior, eliminations, and escapism. Separation anxiety is another example of a fear or phobia out of control. The dog will manifest various degrees of distress, escapism, destructive behavior, and inappropriate eliminations. Diazepam, Buspirone , Amitriptyline, Clomipramine, and doxepin HCL has been very rewarding especially when used with behavioral modification strategies. Fluoxetine has been used successfully in separation anxiety.

 

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