As our loved ones head into their twilight years and get older, it is important to remember that animals age at a significantly higher rate than we do. This is especially the case with large breed dogs like Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. Eight years of age is the equivalent of a 70 year old for these pooches. As such, it is important that we keep a closer eye on our golden oldies.
As well as an annual visit for vaccinations, it is recommended that the senior pets receive a thorough check over every six months as a minimum. This enables the veterinarian to check the commonly occuring issues in the ederly, including deteriorating sight, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and the lumps and bumps. This is commonly refered to as a 'senior check up'. For both dogs and cats this often includes a look at their urine to assess kidney function, the presence of urinary tract infections and the possibility of diabetes and much more. In cats, high blood pressure (hypertension) is also a very common ailment which we can check in a non-invasive manner in consultation.
It was during one of these senior checks that early stage arthritis was detected in a lovely old German Shepherd by the name of Porscha. Porscha came in for her senior check with her worried mum pointing out a region of skin irritation over her hips which Porscha had been regularly licking at for the last week or so. It was determined that she had early stage arthritis in the hip with the discomfort causing her to lick. Four weeks later at the end of her course of 'arthritis injections', Porscha's mum and dad were ecstatic to pass on the good news that she is now much more playful, sleeping less and no longer licking at her hips. In consultation, Porscha's orthopedic exam was significantly more comfortable and she had a better range of motion in all her joints. This has made Porscha's day-to-day life much more comfortable and will prolong the life of her joints.