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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 periodontal disease.

Signs: Red, painful gums; bad breath, reluctance to eat.

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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.

4. Tumours

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 tumours.

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 exercise.

Signs: Pain, stiff joints, reluctance to move

6. Obesity

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. 

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Obesity can be effectively managed by changing the diet of your dog as well as ensuring that your dog gets enough exercise.

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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