Common health problems in senior pets


While it’s true that cats and dogs are prone to many of the same conditions humans are, unlike humans, your dog or cat can’t say, “I better get this sore knee checked out,” or “This chest pain warrants a doctor visit.” Your pet depends on your bringing him to the vet to figure that out – even when you don’t see something obviously wrong.

Senior or geriatric dogs and cats, like humans, are more prone to:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney/urinary tract disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Joint or bone disease
  • Senility
  • Weakness

You might notice a change in habits or a new behavior that’s a sign of a problem. A dog that won’t jump on the bed or a cat who isn’t grooming properly may have an underlying physical problem.

Here are some other behavior changes that may indicate something is wrong:

  • Increased reaction to sounds
  • Increased vocalization
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Increased irritability or aggression
  • Decreased response to commands
  • Incontinence
  • Decreased self-grooming
  • Change in sleep patterns

Behaviors that indicate advanced problems include decreased appetite or thirst, increased or decreased urination, poor coat quality, vomiting, sore mouth, blood in urine, weakness, coughing or respiratory issues, and decreased exercise tolerance. If your senior dog or cat experiences any of these problems, bring him to Chisholm Trail Veterinary Clinic right away, as these are signs of kidney disease, urinary tract disease, and heart disease, among other things.

Bottom line, dogs and cats are very much like humans: the older they get, the more health issues they may have. It’s always important to bring your dog or cat to the vet for annual or bi-annual exams, but as they age, it becomes even more vital.