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Like people, pets age
September 2, 2014 - Jenny Rukenbrod
I am often asked by those who know of my involvement with The Humane Society of Columbiana County, how many pets I have. My answer usually goes something like âsix dogs and more cats than I should.ã Each one has a distinct personality that when missing from my âherd,ã leaves a palpable void. In a community where people and pets are connected, the quote âhere today and gone tomorrowã can be a very painful reality. In my household, all of the pets range from mature to geriatric on the life cycle scale. Humans begin to age at 50. Pets generally reach mid-life around the age of 6 or 7 years, which translates to 40 or 50 in human years depending on the size and breed. If you are lucky enough to have your pet age along with you, similar physical changes will occur. Hearing is not as sharp as it once was. Aches and pains are in evidence as activity levels lessen and the fur will lose luster and become thinner. With advancing age, it seems the need for professional medical intervention also increases. One discovery can impact the quality of the life that remains. As with humans, pet health care can be inconvenient, expensive and life altering. Knowledge is power when it comes to proactive pet health maintenance. Regular check-ups and bloodwork are important for diagnosing and predicting future health related problems. Young or old, many common illnesses can be prevented or at least minimized through early detection. Recently, the youngest and oldest of my pack showed behavioral changes and symptoms of illness. For Henry, the oldest, it was an age related issue. No treatment is going to turn back the hands of time. With the help of animal health care specialists, Peanut, the âbabyã of the family received a diagnosis of diabetes and thyroid issues that can be managed with a lifetime of medication and a special diet. If your dog has reached its golden years, plan to visit your veterinarian twice a year for routine tests. Not only can early detection take place, but a clear baseline of your petás ânormalã function levels can be created. Be sure to bring subtle changes in behavior to the attention of your vet. Ignoring warning signs or symptoms associated with a regular routine involving appetite, breathing, activity levels, drinking and urination, bowel function, gagging or coughing puts your pets life in jeopardy. While my aging petás story ended happily with a positive outcome, it could have easily ended with heartbreaking results. Pets cannot tell us what they are feeling. Medical testing is necessary to find the answers. People on the other hand can give subtle to dramatic notice of something that isnát quite right. In a community where people and pets are connected, we as the humans must be alert and take action sooner than later. The consequences can mean the difference between that delicate line between life or death.
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