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Helping your pets to grow old gracefully.

Byline: Neil McIntosh

HERE is a phrase I hear all the time: "Oh he's fine. He's just starting to feel his age a wee bit."

Often, it is when patients are presented for annual vaccination, sometimes when they come in for routine worm and flea treatments. It always makes me think, 'Just exactly what age are you and what is it you are feeling?' Frequently, the owner is absolutely right. Their pet is indeed ageing and aged. Time has obviously taken its toll.

Joints may be a bit creaky and could benefit from some decent pain relief, which these days is safe and very effective.

The heart and lungs might be getting a bit tired and sometimes treatment is needed to open out the airways or deal with the effects of a leaking heart valve. But then there are the

Sunday August 26 North of Scotland Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club championship show.

The Bettridge Centre, Newtonhill, 10.30am.

Afghan Hound Club of Scotland championship show. The Scottish National Equestrian Centre, Ecclesmachan, 10.30am.

Scottish Terrier Club championship show. The Cochrane Hall, Alva.

SHOW NEWS August 25 and 26 Scottish Kennel Club championship show. Highland Showground, Ingliston, 9.30am Saturday: Gundog, hound and terrier.

Sunday: Working, pastoral, utility and toy breeds. Saturday August 25 Scottish Dobermann Club championship show.

Lanark Agricultural Centre, 9.30am.

Scottish Pomeranian Club open show. Ladywood Leisure Centre.

Lhasa Apso Club of Scotland championship show. Bo'ness Recreation Centre.

Scottish Siberian Husky Club championship show. Lanark Agricultural Centre.

Papillon Club of Scotland open show. Cochrane Hall, Alva.

good example. This eightyear-old golden retriever has always been pretty laid back.

Nothing has ever fazed him and he has coped well with the arrival of his owner's new baby, despite previously always being the centre of attention in the house.

It wasn't that he was neglected at all, it was just that his owner now had more to think about. So when she brought him in for vaccination, she remarked that he had aged a lot lately. "Maybe his nose is just out of joint," she said.

It wasn't. Bertie was a little heavy, his coat was dry and brittle and he had lost a little sparkle. But there was more. Bertie's face looked anxious.

Fit though he was, his heart rate was low. A simple test, processed in 20 minutes, showed he had an underactive thyroid. Treatment has made him young again.

patients for whom age is not the real problem.

These guys tend to fall into two categories. Firstly, there are the overweight pets. The only issue they have with time is that they should spend less of it eating. There is nothing like a few extra pounds to take years off your pet's life.

Indeed, recent evidence suggests that losing 10 per cent of bodyweight will give a 60 per cent improvement in the clinical signs associated with arthritis. The simple fact is that slim pets live longer.

Secondly, there are the patients who look like they are just getting old but are actually suffering from a medical problem. Bertie is a HERE is a phrase I hear all the time: "Oh he's fine. He's just starting to feel his age a wee bit."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 23, 2012
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