Old age is not the most pleasant time in terms of health. For animals, this statement is equally true. A waning immune system already far from always copes with threats that have come from the external environment, and therefore dogs of advanced age often get sick. And often the diseases of old dogs are very dangerous for their lives.
The most common pathologies of aging animals
One of the most dangerous and, unfortunately, the most common diseases among the "old people" is crayfish. When the body's defenses are weakening, they can no longer destroy the cancer cells daily formed in the dog’s body in a timely manner. The older the dog, the more likely it is to have a malignant tumor. The main symptoms of cancer are:
- Occurrence tumors, which most often show a tendency to rapid and constant growth.
- The emergence of non-healing wounds and ulcers.
- Constant, progressive weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Possibly spontaneous the release of blood with vomit or feces.
- Sudden bouts of pain, over time, becoming more frequent.
- Permanent constipation, intermittent cases of profuse diarrhea, shortness of breath, problems with urination... In a word, clinical signs directly depend on the place where the tumor grew.
The cure for cancer (more precisely, its feasibility) also depends on the location of the neoplasm, the type of oncology, age and physiological state of the animal. If possible, the tumor is removed surgically, and probable metastases are destroyed using chemical and radiological therapy. Unfortunately, in old dogs, cancer often develops very quickly, and the veterinarian can only stop the pain, extending the life of the sick pet.
Diseases of the oral cavity. Over time, the condition of the teeth and gums of the old dog worsens, which is why periodontal diseases develop. This includes caries (it also happens in dogs, yes), gingivitis (i.e. gum disease), pulpitis, etc. Many of these pathologies cause severe pain, the animal cannot eat normally, which is why it partially or completely loses its appetite and quickly loses weight. In addition, one of the most common signs of pathologies of the oral cavity is considered an unpleasant, putrid odor from it.
Therapy depends on the type of disease. So, caries or pulpitis is most often treated by removing a diseased tooth. In the West, they often resort to veterinary dentistry, but even there, not all breeders can afford to pay for it. We have clinics offering these services only in the largest cities.
Mild cases of gingivitis and stomatitis treated with rinses with solutions of antiseptic agents, with a complication of the pathological process, they resort to antibiotics and other antibacterial drugs. About the prevention of diseases of the teeth and oral cavity in the video below:
Arthritis and arthrosis. "Classics" of senile diseases. Note that these ailments especially often affect dogs of large and especially large breeds. Moreover, the "old" dogs can only be considered conditionally, since animals that are not yet seven to eight years old often get sick.
The "clinic" of these pathologies is quite characteristic - the dog begins to have great difficulty walkingoften falls on a sore limb and whines with pain. The joints noticeably increase in volume, become hot and painful to the touch. If the inflammatory process is complicated by the penetration of pyogenic microflora, the joint cavity is opened, and from the fistula formed, thick, greenish-yellow pus comes out. At the same time, the condition of the animal worsens sharply, the affected limb hurts so that the dog cannot rest on it at all, and therefore constantly keeps its paw on weight. If the joints are inflamed on two or more legs, the animal cannot stand up and move at all, the general temperature of its body rises greatly.
As in all previous cases, the methods of therapy will depend on the neglect of the disease and the general condition of the affected dog. In severe situations, you have to resort to surgery, up to the implantation of synthetic elements of the joints. Of course, such a “luxury” is not available to all breeders, so they are more often limited to conservative treatment consisting in the introduction of drugs that stimulate recovery processes in damaged joints (for example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Important! Unfortunately, it is not always possible to cure joint diseases in dogs, and more often the matter is limited to stopping the pain reaction and improving the quality of life of the old dog.
Other dangerous pathologies
Kidney disease. Very often, in older dogs, stones form in the kidneys and / or bladder. Urolithiasis disease - an extremely unpleasant pathology, accompanied by severe pain reaching the so-called "renal colic" and intoxication, which develops in case of serious morphofunctional lesions of the excretory system.
The symptomatology is quite specific: the dog pushes and even squeals from pain when urinating, urine is excreted in small portions, and blood impurities can often be found in it. The animal is rapidly weakening, it lacks appetite. In advanced cases, there is only one effective treatment - surgical intervention. If there are few stones and their size is small, conservative therapy can help, as well as their destruction using ultrasound. The procedure is not the cheapest, but it is much cheaper and safer than abdominal surgery.
But urolithiasis is far from the most dangerous pathology of the urinary system of old dogs. Much worse CRF, that is chronic renal failure. This is not just one disease, but a complex of ailments (jade, pyelonephritis, nephrosis, etc.), each of which can lead to serious disorders in the functioning of the urinary system. Their symptoms are more lubricated. The dog begins to drink a lot of water, which causes no less frequent episodes of urination.
Further development of the process finally “finishes” the kidneys, begins to manifest itself severe intoxication: after all, the organs can no longer remove all toxins from the body. In the most severe cases, it comes to uremia (roughly speaking, this is urine in the blood). Of course, pure urine will not begin to flow along the veins of the dog, but a lot of uric acid, nitrogenous bases, including an overwhelming amount of urea, as well as large volumes of bile acids, will appear in the animal’s blood.
Starting from a certain moment, all this becomes pure poison, which especially hard hits the nervous system of a sick dog. Begin neurological seizures and, if nothing is done, the animal falls into a coma. From it it no longer comes out and dies. Alas, with the developed symptoms of chronic renal failure, it is no longer necessary to hope for a complete or even partial cure. The maximum that you can count on is the extension of the life of a sick pet due to the constant introduction of drugs and a special diet.
Heart disease in old dogs. Also a very extensive and dangerous group of diseases. As in the case of limbs, this scourge often affects representatives of large and giant breeds, and the dogs may not be too old. The "oldies" are especially often identified dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a pathology characterized by degenerative and destructive changes in the myocardium. It leads to the fact that the left (or right) half of the heart, or even the entire organ, acquires a "rag" consistency and is greatly stretched. The atria cannot really contract, and therefore the animal develops symptoms of heart failure. They are quite specific:
- The pet develops a strong dyspnea even after the most minor physical exertion.
- Hoarse and heavy breathing, which may be accompanied by the release of foam from the nasal passages and jaws. A very disturbing symptom, talking about starting pulmonary edema.
- Edematous phenomena, especially pronounced on the limbs, abdomen, sternum.
If you see at least one of the above with your dog, show it to your veterinarian immediately, because jokes are bad with a heart! With the treatment of such pathologies, everything is not easy: if the disease has not yet had enough time to develop, maintenance therapy is prescribed, including diuretics and drugs that stimulate the work of the heart. In advanced cases, everything is the same, but the doctor can only slightly extend the life of the dog.