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Signs of the Most Common Illnesses in Aging Cats & Dogs

Cats and dogs can be rewarding family members, but the downside is having to watch them age. Here, our Cordova vets share signs of illness due to aging and when you should seek care.

Common Illnesses & Issues

Watching our pets play and grow and learn can be one of the highlights of life. But inevitably, even the healthiest of pets will start to show signs of illness or changes in behavior that may leave you wondering if something is wrong, or if it's just a part of life's course.

Some signs of aging can actually be a more serious concern, depending on the severity and speed at which the symptom becomes apparent. Lethargy, for instance, that has a slow onset can be age-related, but a change in energy level over a day or two is a much more urgent issue that should be examined by your vet.

Common Signs of Aging

  • Reduced vision and hearing
  • Increased anxiety
  • Mobility issues, painful joints
  • Reduced appetite
  • Subtle behavioral changes or confusion
  • Skin and fur/coat changes
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Small changes in weight
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Bladder stones
  • Reduced energy levels

Serious Concerns

  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Wounds that won't heal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painful and/or frequent urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Cloudy pupils
  • Elevated disorientation
  • Lost interest in exercise or walks

When to Seek Emergency Care

It may be difficult to know when a symptom is simply a part of the aging process or if it is the early stages of a preventable health problem. Often the symptoms may be similar, so it is important to watch your pet and try to recognize the difference. Is he too tired to go for a walk? Or is he not able to walk without pain because hip dysplasia is setting in?

If your cat or dog appears to be in pain or suffering, you should make an appointment to see your vet. They will be able to determine if the cause is due to aging or a more serious illness. Your vet will also be able to suggest a course of action.

In some cases, your pet might be in too much pain for medication to treat. Your veterinarian will present you with information and may offer suggestions, but ultimately the final decision will be yours. Difficult choices like these are never easy to make, but our staff will do our best to help you decide and will ensure comfort for your loved one.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

For more information on how to care for your aging pets, contact Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital in Cordova.

Aging Pets | Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital

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