The day came when I looked at my dear grey girl and lamented how accurate poet Emily Dickinson was when she said, ‘Old age comes on suddenly and not gradually as is thought’. How had my beautiful black girl turned into an old dog overnight?
Grey hairs aside (and there were an extra couple of dozen every week), she’d taken the leap from battling middle-age spread to being a senior citizen, and I honestly can’t tell you when this change had occurred.
In the veterinary profession, we too are seeing the greying of a population. Elderly pets are now accounting for a large part of our clinic’s frequent flyers club. With your own cat or dog, check the following list:
- Are they eating more or less?
- Have they lost weight or gained weight recently?
- Are they drinking any more than usual?
- Do they need to go to the toilet more frequently?
- How are their energy levels? Used to be a 10/10 and now only a 5/10?
- Are there any changes in behaviour, especially around sleeping habits?
These changes give us subtle clues that it’s time to take a closer look. Veterinary medicine used to be about the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, but these days, with our ‘Grey Paws’ examination, early detection of treatable or at least manageable disease is on offer to all pets.
For Sydney and I, though our park walks were getting shorter and cutting across the field was the new norm, we always had the water. Watching her swim reminded me of the lovely scene from the movie ‘Cocoon’ where the seniors are floating and laughing in the weightless, carefree existence buoyancy affords. Seeing her revert to being an exuberant young Labrador again were precious moments for me, her doting owner, to enjoy and etch into my memory.
Call us on 09 377 667 to make an appointment or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can look after your special friend.