Dear Dr Matt,
We adore our girl Tessa, a 10 year old Cavoodle. We noticed last Winter that she was starting to slow down and have noticed again now that she is a little stiff in the mornings. Also this year for the first time she has developed a cough when she gets excited. This is my first dog and this ‘getting older’ thing is new to me. Any advice from here would be great! Thanks!
- Maria and Tessa
Hi Maria and Tessa,
Great to hear from you! You are absolutely spot on, this is the time of year we get a lot of fur children coming in for these exact reasons. Like us, they absolutely feel the cold and this can start to highlight processes like arthritis and aging.
Also, keep in mind our pets age 5-7 times quicker than we do, so more regular check-ups from now on will be in order to keep Tessa happy, healthy and comfy through this stage of her life.
A visit from Arthur Ritis
Our fur children can really feel the effects of arthritis but the early signs can be subtle; they don’t vocalise in pain, instead they just stretch a little more, walk a little slower or jump a little less. However, we know arthritis is painful and certainly does restrict their quality of life.
The good news is that together there’s lots we can do to help! Your role is to keep them lean in their older age and active with short daily walks to keep their muscles strong and joints mobile. Our role is to help medically, ranging from supplements, to arthritis injections with a drug called cartrophen (the effects are amazing!) to anti-inflammatories and pain relief when they start getting seriously stiff and sore.
A cough is not just a cough
Coughs vary in older pets from mild and brief, to harsh and ongoing. If a cough persists or there is any difficulty breathing, then it needs to be attended to sooner rather than later.
In Cavoodles, we need to be mindful of heart murmurs or changes to their windpipe as they age. Again, many of these things can be picked up with a vet visit, while other times we will need to take x-rays or ultrasound of the heart to help get to the bottom of it for you. In any case, treatment is always available to improve the symptoms and give our pets a great quality of life and keep them by our side for longer.
I wish you and Tessa all the best,
Dr. Matt Buchanan-Pascall (AKA DR PAWS)