As a veterinarian, people have often said to me “ It must be difficult to treat dogs and cats since they can’t talk and tell you how they feel.” How right they are!
So many of our geriatric patients, for example, come to the animal hospital and their owners were not even aware that there was a problem! The most dedicated owners who would do anything to enhance their pet’s well-being often miss the subtle signs of disease.
Diseases seen in older animals may be characterized by little more than a reduction in activity or a mild change in appetite. They sleep so much at that age – it can be hard to notice a difference. Dental disease and/or arthritis can be quite advanced when we veterinarians see the dog or cat in the animal hospital.
If only they could say, “My mouth hurts when I chew” or “My joints are really painful today”. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could talk or we could monitor them for these gradual changes?
Dr. Janet E. McMahan