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Thanks to technical advancements in modern veterinary medicine, surgery, diagnostics and nutrition, not only do pets live longer but their quality of life has increased dramatically as well.
One way that veterinary medicine has followed human medicine is the development and use of the new generation of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs help the aches and pains of many senior pets while keeping side effects to a minimum.
Many age related problems are still seen as inevitable, but the attitudes of both veterinarians and pet owners have changed. The belief now is that "age is not a disease", and veterinary medicine is putting increased emphasis on senior pet health through preventative wellness programs.
In general, some early warning signs that your pet may be having a problem are:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Loss of bladder control or breaking house training
- Decreased mobility, trouble getting up or dramatic decrease in play
- Repeated vomiting
- Bad breath, drooling or changes in appetite
- Excessive panting, coughing or exercise intolerance
- Lumps or changes in areas of skin color
- Change in appetite - eating more or less than usual
- Changes in behavior such as "spacing out" or excessive whining
- Unusual bowel movements - diarrhea or constipation
- Changes in body weight - gaining or losing weight
Watch pets closely and report any unusual behavioral or physical problems to your veterinarian immediately. Work with your veterinarian and develop a specific senior wellness program for your pet's individual needs so that your special friend can enjoy aging gracefully.