Common Ailments Mistaken for Aging or just “Slowing Down”

Common Ailments Mistaken for Aging or just “Slowing Down”
By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
McKinney, TX

Animal Hospital McKinney TXAt our animal hospital in McKinney, TX, we often see dogs and cats with lethargy and decreased interest in activity, weight loss or weight gain, decreased appetite, difficulty rising from a prone position or pain, or simply “slowing down.”  In the vast majority of cases, we’re able to diagnose very treatable ailments that, when addressed, return the pets to their “old selves” again.

Animals can’t tell us where they hurt, and it is instinctual in them to hide maladies.  This makes it difficult for pet owners to notice problems that can arise very slowly, and they may just attribute changes in their pets to aging or a natural decrease in liveliness.

First and foremost among the diagnoses of these hidden conditions is oral disease– be that gingivitis, periodontitis, broken or fractured teeth, growths, or other conditions we find in the mouth.  The difference in attitude, appetite, and overall health after we address these mouth disorders is sometimes hard to believe.  Imagine living with a broken tooth or gum abscess for months on end with no hope of relief; we would slow down too, with that burden to bear! It’s very important that pets get regular dental care.

Pet dental procedures should include oral radiographs, because if we don’t know what lies beneath the gum line, it’s as if we are driving while blindfolded.  Appropriate treatment of the abnormalities we find on x-rays is just impossible without knowing that they exist.

Pain while moving, difficulty in rising from a prone position, lethargy, falling over, and changes in personality are symptoms of spinal and/or hip disorders that also cause chronic pain and interfere with nerve transmission to the legs, colon, and urinary bladder.  Hip dysplasia and a condition of the vertebrae called spondylosis deformans are extremely common and treatable disorders that can literally change the lives of affected animals.

Radiographs of the hips and spinal column are necessary to diagnose these disorders; often light sedation is required to obtain accurate films.  At our animal hospital in McKinney, TX, we use new technologies such as laser therapy and stem cell regenerative medicine, which give us the ability to treat these chronic problems effectively, and we can provide these patients with relief and a new lease on life.

Other common disorders that affect pets include renal disease, heart disease and/or hypertension, hypothyroidism in dogs and hyperthyroidism in cats.  All of these conditions cause animals to decrease activity, gain or lose weight, and have changes in their personalities that are easily mistaken as natural aging.  These conditions are usually very treatable with medications that make a big difference in the pets, and return them to their former selves.

Any pet with symptoms mentioned above should be examined at an animal hospital in McKinney, TX, and appropriate testing should be done to diagnose these conditions.  It is surprising how many pets we return to vitality by diagnosing and treating these very common disorders.

Animal Hospital McKinney TX
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
5913 Virginia Parkway
McKinney, Texas 75071

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