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Older pets

Does my pet have arthritis?

Did you know that as many as one in five older dogs has arthritis? It can be difficult to spot, but here are some signs to watch out for in your pet:

  • They might avoid the activities they used to enjoy
  • They may stop jumping onto the furniture or avoid climbing stairs
  • If they yelp, nip or become upset when touched
  • Your pet may become depressed, or perhaps just more grumpy
  • Dogs may lag behind on walks

This can be a very painful condition. If you suspect that your pet has arthritis, please contact us immediately, and we can arrange to check your pet and advise on treatment.

It is very important that you not try to treat your pet’s arthritis yourself, as human anti-inflammatories and supplements can be dangerous for animals.

Does my pet have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can show in many different ways, depending on the underlying disease. Some of the signs of hypertension are:

  • altered behaviour
  • fits
  • reduction in vision

High blood pressure or hypertension can be caused by several different diseases, all of which are more common in the older pet. In the dog it can be caused by kidney failure, Cushings disease, or diabetes mellitus. In the cat it can be caused by kidney failure, an over-active thyroid gland, heart disease or diabetes mellitus. In cats it can also happen just due to old age.

It is very easy and pain free to check your pet’s blood pressure – we simply place a cuff around their leg and listen for the pulse in their paw. We can do this in a routine consultation. If your pet is diagnosed with hypertension we will then need to check for any underlying diseases. Elderly cats should have their blood pressure checked annually, as they are more at risk of problems developing.

If your pets blood pressure remains high for too long then it can damage their kidneys or their eyes, in some instances causing permanent damage including blindness. However hypertension and many of the diseases that cause it are treatable.

If you are at all concerned about your pet please make an appointment to speak to a vet or have a blood pressure check.

My pet is drinking more

This can be caused by several different conditions. The common ones include hyperthyroidism, kidney failure and diabetes mellitus.

If you believe your pet is drinking more than normal, please contact us. We can arrange to check these conditions and arrange the appropriate treatment.

Is my cat dehydrated?

Dehydration, or lack of water, is a major factor in ill health for cats. It is commonly related to digestive problems as well as urinary tract issues and general health. To keep your cat in good health, adequate water is absolutely necessary. 

Dehydration is common in pets, and it can lead to serious problems. If your cat doesn’t feel well, has stopped eating, has been exposed to excessive amounts of heat without water, or is vomiting and not keeping water down, chances are your cat is suffering from dehydration.

Pet owners commonly ask how they can tell if their cat is dehydrated.

If a cat is not eating or drinking, or is having vomiting or diarrhea, the safest thing to do is to assume is that the cat is dehydrated. This may not always be the case but assuming that it is dehydration is the safest approach.

Here are some signs of dehydration that you should be aware of:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry gums
  • Increased heart rate

You will often see us lift up the loose skin over the back and watch how closely it pulls back into its normal shape. A slow return to normal can be a sign of dehydration. Some cats will also have sunken eyes, an increased heart rate and slow blood flow.

If you think your cat is dehydrated, contact the surgery immediately. The condition can worsen dramatically in a very short period of time. We can supply emergency fluids to reverse the condition, but by far the best way to treat dehydration is to prevent it.

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