Common Diseases of Senior Dogs
As your dog gets older, they are bound to be more prone to illnesses that will affect the way they behave.
As a responsible dog owner, knowledge of these diseases and what to look out
for will put you in a better position to offer help to your pet and make those elderly years comfortable and happy
for your loyal companion.
Here are some common diseases that are found in senior dogs.
1. Diabetes mellitus
This disease is characterized by high levels of sugar in blood. The cause is due to a deficiency of the hormone
insulin which is produced by the pancreas.
Signs: Excessive thirst and urination, loss of weight, normal appetite
2. Dental infection
Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to avoid infections in the mouth. Such infections will cause a lot of
pain to the dog and may even spread to other areas. Common infections in this area include gingivitis and
Signs: Red, painful gums; bad breath, reluctance to eat.
3. Liver problems
This is an organ that is prone to many conditions in old age. In addition to degenerative changes, the liver may
also become congested or clogged.
These can be malignant or benign. Benign growths shouldn’t cause too much worry but just to be sure you can have
a biopsy taken. Malignant tumour in old dogs may occur in any area such as the nervous system and visceral
organs such as the liver and kidney. Females that have not been spayed are also likely to suffer from mammary
5. Dog Arthritis
Though this disease can affect dog of all ages, it is also common in many dogs in their senior years. There is
no effective cure for this disease but it can be managed using painkillers and other form of therapy such as
Signs: Pain, stiff joints, reluctance to move
Due to the reduced activity of most senior dogs and the fact that most owners do not change the nutrition of
their dogs as they grow older, this is a common result. Obesity may also be due to other metabolic conditions or
diseases such as hypothyroidism.
Obesity can be effectively managed by changing the diet of your dog as well as ensuring that your dog gets
Signs: Excess weight gain.
7. Kidney failure
This is mostly chronic kidney failure and may be acquired earlier but the signs observed later. This disease
results in reduced elimination and subsequent accumulation of waste products such as urea from the body.
Signs: Increased thirst, weight loss, weakness, loss of appetite. Later as the degree of destruction of the
kidney increases other signs may include ammonia smell of breath and vomiting.
8. Loss of eyesight
Some of the conditions mentioned above such as diabetes will result in loss of eyesight. Diabetes for instance
will cause cataracts to develop; these cataracts will cause opacity that may lead to either partial or complete
loss of eyesight.
Other conditions include keratoconjuctivitis sicca which is excessive drying of the eyes; the eyes may also
produce a coloured discharge.
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