Thursday, May 24, 2018

Senior Dogs

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Category: Schnauzer Health

Senior Dog.
This is for both people looking to adopt or people who have a pet that is getting on in years .  Do not panic and dump the dog at a shelter. Remember If you own a dog it's a Lifetime commitment, you need to be committed to that animal for it's lifetime. I did this little write up to try to show  what to expect, and  how you can manage owning a older dog or being kind enough to give one a good home .
Things you may eventually have to deal with as your pet ages. 
Senior Dog.
This is for both people looking to adopt or people who have a pet that is getting on in years .  Do not panic and dump the dog at a shelter. Remember If you own a dog it's a Lifetime commitment, you need to be committed to that animal for it's lifetime. I did this little write up to try to show  what to expect, and  how you can manage owning a older dog or being kind enough to give one a good home .
Things you may eventually have to deal with as your pet ages. 

Arthritis, Back injuries, Joint pain.


Just like Humans dogs bodies start to wear out as they get older, 
for a schnauzer this may be between the 10th and 16th year .
Let me introduce you to Fritz... Fritz is about 16 years young.
A few years ago he was having severe mobility issues mostly because he has a slipped disk in his back and some painful joints. We were afraid we were going to have to put him down because he was  so sore and unhappy. At first he was being managed by dietary supplements, glucosamine  Pills, and Fish oil pills. 
These would work great but because he always was and is a very active dog he had a tendency to over do it on occasion and would need to be placed on crate  rest and hot baths for a few days to sooth and rest his muscles and joints.
Latter when the regular dosage didn't seem to be helping as much we upped him to  NSAID 's and Adequan® Canine injections.
There was a period of trial and error, there is a lot to learn about  NSAID's and there are different kinds.  NSAID 1 and  NSAID  2 .
NSAID 1 is  Metacam :  Cox 1 inhibitor  can cause stomach and gastrointestinal upset 
NSAID 2 is Deramaxx : Cox 2   more reading here
Each effects the pain receptors a little differently and both are great for managing pain/inflammation  but should be monitored carefully when used long-term . Fritz needed an extended  usage dose  at first to get him back in shape . He had started to avoid putting weight on his rear end. Not because of hips, but a slipped disk in his back. This created a very strong front, but antropied rear legs.
We tried the metacam first but it didn't seem right.  After doing a trial for 3 weeks my vet and I switched to Deramaxx. He did very well on it, and was on it for about 6 months daily for pain management. At the time we lived in a second story apartment and the stairs were hurting his back,  at the same time  I started doseing him with .5 cc  Adequan injections. Adequan injections are easy to give and are a great supplement. They can be given as a sub-q injection for a little longer release or intra-muscularly directly into the effected area  which is a little more difficult to administer.
  1. First they were given bi-weekly then weekly 
  2. Then every 2 weeks 
  3. Now he gets injections and pain pills only as needed. 
As he worked the muscles back up in his legs, he needed less pain meds. But I still need to make sure his exercise is moderated, and keep things like stairs to a minimum, we try not to let him do steps and carry him or use a sling to support his rear. Also jumping up on beds and the couch is discouraged or he is given a ramp to avoid the hop that can aggravate  his discs.  Fritz IS limited to about 45 min of hard workouts or 2 hours of paced walking over  smooth terrain.... If you have watched any of our hiking videos you can see Fritz would rather beat himself up for 45 minutes of fetch or mountain climbing then take a slow walk... 
On longer hikes I make sure to carry an empty back pack in case he gets too tired to make it back. Often we have to let  him rest near the end of a hike  and he is good about letting us know when he is tired or sore.
 Also water therapy helps. When he was getting hot baths I made sure the tub was full enough for him to be able to "swim" and by holding him up a little under his belly would encourage him to paddle in the water to help loosen up his joints and give his legs a workout. 

Managing Diabetes in your Schnauzer :

"Schnauzers are one of the breeds at risk for developing diabetes mellitus, a disease where the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin for the body to utilize glucose properly. They possess several other risk factors that make them susceptible to diabetes. Once diagnosed, treatment and management involve diet, exercise and daily insulin injections for the life of the dog."  more here

You Can manage Diabetes in your Schnauzer first by diet & exercise , then by medication, and if needed insulin injections.
Diabetic dogs should be fed a high-protein diet , and just like humans have there blood sugar level monitored . Be very careful to feed minimal carbs so watch the label for potato, sweet potato and corn. more


Dogs that are having trouble "holding " it as they get older don't have to be tossed away . There  are ways you can manage their needs. 
The problem can  stem anywhere from   a UTI or a dog that needs to go back to crate training 101.
The first step should be to have your pet evaluated by your vet and possibly a specialist to rule out any infections or underlying medical issues besides advanced age . 
Causes of  urination are :
  • Urinary Incontinance    <-   treatable
  • ectopic ureter <- birth defect
  • vulvovaginal stenosis <-   treatable
  • Hormone-responsive incontinence <- treatable
  • polyuria <-  treatable
  • brain or spinal cord disease
  • muscle weakness or paralysis <- possibly  treatable
  • partial blockage of the urethra <- treatable
  • Kidney Stone <- treatable
  • Tumor <- possibly treatable
  • Bladder Infection      <- treatable not incontinant
  • submissive urination <- trainable not incontinant 
Next figuring out a best way to manage it.
If it is not medical this may mean adjusting feeding schedules,  more frequent bathroom breaks,  doggie diapers and belly bands. 
Luckily miniature schnauzers are a smaller breed dog and they fit very nicely in standard sized baby cloths. Austin is 15 lbs and wears a Size "3" or "4" diaper and a size 18 months onesie . Fritz is 22.5 lbs  and wears a size "4" diaper, and a size 24 months onesie.
You can also help your older dog by giving it appropriate supplements .
Over The Counter Supplements & Medications For Urinary Disease

Potassium Citrate Plus Cranberry Bladder Strength UT Strength
Senior Bladder Support for Dogs Azyodyl Epakitin    


Managing your Schnauzers comfort while going thru the stages of Cancer treatments:
Here is a good site to help you thru cancer in dogs:  more
Diet plays a very important part in the maintenance of a dog with cancer.

Grooming the Senior Schnauzer
When they get older it can be easier on them to trim the beard and furnishings a little shorter.
Special attention should be taken to the ears , and coat to watch for any signs of deterioration or infection. Like older Humans, older dogs can have a slightly weakened immune system and watching for things like dirty ears  can identify ear mites, or a dull coat  can be an early warning sign of an underlying issue.
Teeth, Gums, Bad breath
Dogs, like people need there teeth cleaned . If this isn't done as regular maintenance It can become quite bad as they get older.
Your vet can do a teeth cleaning to clean polish and help manage any plaque or tarter build up. There are also dental chews to help care for your pets teeth an gums . 
It is important to manage a healthy mouth beyond dog breath , the bacteria that  build up in a dirty mouth  lead directly to toxic build up in your dogs system and harm the heart, liver  and kidneys . 
Anal Glands 
making sure you are feeding your dog appropriately  to produce a good firm stool. This  will help insure your dog can naturally clear out the anal glands, soft stools will not be able to .
If there are  complications and the glands aren't clearing, you may need to have the glands expressed .
Although this is yucky it will help your dog in the long run, signs that glands aren't being properly cleared are licking, and rubbing their bottom on the carpet.
Reasons this needs to be done are as follows:
un-cleared anal sacs can lead to :

  1. Impaction: This can become painful for your dog. A veterinarian, groomer, or the pet's owner must clean them out, or 'express' them. This empties the glands of all material.
  2. Infection: If not cleared the glands can become infected . Bacteria make their way into the glands, probably through the ducts. This is a very painful condition, and the first sign you may see is that the animal attempts to bite or scratch when you touch the area near the tail.
  3. Abscesses: An infected , Impacted gland can Abscess, and the abscess can rupture. abscesses must be lanced by a veterinarian, and antibiotics are usually given to the pet for seven to 14 days. Using warm compresses on the area often helps to relieve some of the pain and reduce swelling. Secondary problems sometimes occur with abscesses, as they may cause scar tissue  or other damage that may affect the nerves and muscles in this area. This can cause fecal incontinence, meaning the pet cannot retain its stools.


more reading :   link 1link 2link 3link4  
Hot Spots
Hot Spots usually appear as a warm to the touch, red raw area on an animals skin most often near a lower leg or foot, but can be found anywhere on the body. Often these are caused by allergies, neglected grooming and environmental irritations.
hotspots are treatable, and may benefit from a change in diet, or medicated baths.