Care About Your Senior Pet? Make Sure You Get Them Checked Out

Susan Hornik

For pet owners in the middle of a cuddle session with their furry friend, realizing there's a lump may immediately put them in a state of worry. While it may or may not be something serious, it's always important to get it checked out, noted Dr. Sehaj Grewal, known as The Melrose Vet.

"It may be cancerous, but it may not be," Grewal acknowledged. "Typically what vets do is feel the lump, to see if it's fatty, movable and soft, which is very easy to diagnose. Still, a physical exam may not be enough to know for sure what it is. "So the vet can also do a diagnostic test called cytology, where they aspirate ie place a needle in and get some cells out. A highly impactful alternative is to remove the lump completely and send it out to the lab for a biopsy."
Spaz and Spot at the Melrose VetSusan Hornik

Older dogs can often get fatty tumors, which are a proliferation of cells caused by a variety of factors; everything from genetics to the environment. "Just like humans get skin growths, so do pups," Grewal explained.

Once your dog reaches his twilight years, a blood and urine test is very helpful to do. "We need to check that their organs are healthy, to see if there are any problem areas," he said.
Susan Hornik

Checking the dog's eyes for any degenerative issues is equally vital. "For anything age related, there is not much the vet can do. But if there is a cataract, where the eye looks milky and white, then a vet can put a new lens.

Keeping your dog's nails trimmed is helpful too, noted Grewal. "Sometimes, a dog will develop an allergy to something and start to scratch, thus hurting the skin. Secondary skin infections end up happening as a result. Also, their eye may start to tear from allergies as well."
Susan Hornik

Grewal recommends an allergy shot if your dog is scratching himself excessively despite flea medication being applied. "Your pet may be allergic to something. This injection works immediately and can last a few months. Alternatively, I recommend pet owners do a milligram per pound of Benadryl twice a day."

The next project the Melrose Vet is taking on is renovating the store space next door, into a physical rehabilitation facility for pets, to include acupuncture, an underwater treadmill and holistic care. "I finally got my permits and am really looking forward to this expansion. Too often, older pets develop muscle issues and this will be a wonderful place for them."

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