Some diseases and conditions are more common in old age, but they are still diseases, and they are manageable, treatable diseases, that will give your senior pet more energy, easier movement, and a longer more comfortable life.
Arthritis is one of the most common diseases that occurs in older patients. Arthritis includes, hip dysplasia and spondylosis. Arthritis can occur in any joint in a pet. Arthritis in the hips or lower spine can make a pet stiff and slow when getting up or laying down, and make them reluctant to jump on the bed or into the car. When the pain is controlled, your pet will start jumping and running and playing again just like he did when he was younger.
Tooth problems also become more frequent as a pet ages. This can make a pet reluctant to play fetch or eat his favorite treats. One Labrador stopped playing fetch at the age of 5. The owner thought he was just getting older. When the fractured tooth was removed at the age of 8, he started playing fetch again, and wanted to play all day every day!
Thyroid problems and diabetes often affect older pets and cause weight gain or weight loss, and changes in appetite. The weight gain from low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) often makes joint pain worse, and causes the pet to lay around all time and shed more. This is not just an old pet, it is a sick pet that with treatment can start running and playing like he did just a few years ago. Diabetes will cause a pet to eat really well. It is often hard to imagine that a pet is sick, when they are always wanting to eat. But uncontrolled diabetes will start to affect and cause permanent damage to a pet's kidneys, pancreas, liver and other organs.
A healthy senior pet is often active, playful, happy to follow you outside, in good body condition, and not overly hungry or reluctant to eat. A healthy senior pet, acts like a healthy young adult pet. Taking your pet in for twice yearly exams can catch problems and diseases early, and keep your pets happy active members of the family well into their advanced years.