Age is not a disease!

By nakedbarra | May 24, 2013

Every day we have new customers call us, saying their dog is having mobility issues, their cat needs an amputation, or they just need some assistance.

Every day, I have people tell me “He’s 14, I know thats old”. I always ask people “does he still look at you the same? Does his tail wag, and does she purr, even if she can’t move?” When they answer yes to those questions, I tell them, AGE IS NOT A DISEASE. If you feel your pet is ‘all there’ mentally, then age is just a number! There are a ton of products to help humans in their old age, and now there is products to help your pet age gracefully.

Unfortunately, I do have many people who answer ‘No’, their pet doesn’t look at them the same, they aren’t eating right, and they have no energy for anything. We are not Veterinarians here at Handicapped Pets Canada, however we can help you rate your pets Quality of Life. 

I found these excellent charts to rate Quality of Life, from Pawspice. The first one is for Felines and the second is for Dogs. To download the PDF file, so you can print these and have a record of them, visit Pawspice’s link.

FelineQualityofLifeScale

 

Quality-of-Life-Scale

Hurt— Score 0-10
No hurt: adequate pain control is first and foremost on the scale. This includes the pet’s ability to breath properly. Most people do not realize that not being able to breath is ranked at the top of the pain scale in human medicine. So attention to the pet’s ability to breathe properly is a top priority. Cases with pulmonary effusion need thoracocentesis on an as needed basis. Pet owners need to be trained to monitor the pet’s respirations and comfort level and to identify labored breathing so they won’t wait too long to provide relief. Some families are willing to provide oxygen therapy at home for their ailing pets. The veterinarian can prescribe oxygen through a medical supply house. Pain control may include oral, transdermal and injectable medications and be given preemptively.

 

Hunger— Score 0-10
No hunger: if adequate nutrition is not being taken in by the pet willingly or by hand or coaxing or force feeding, then placement of a feeding tube needs to be considered. Cats do very well with esophageal feeding tubes. Malnutrition develops quickly in sick animals when the caretaker is not educated enough to know how much their pet needs to eat to maintain body weight. Use a blender or liquid diets to help your best friend maintain proper nutritional and caloric intake. Many pets will live much longer if offered wholesome, flavorful foods that are varied. It takes patience and gentle concentrated coaxing to get some pets to eat. It is hard not to be disappointed when such specially prepared food is rejected. Just come back with another offering with a different flavor a little later and that meal may be more appealing to the patient.

Hydration—Score 0-10
No hydration problems. Educate yourself about adequate fluid intake per pound (10 ml per pound per day) and to assess for hydration by the pinch method. Subcutaneous (SQ) fluids are a wonderful way to supplement the fluid intake of ailing pets.  

Hygiene—Score 0-10
Good Hygiene is a must! Can the pet be kept brushed and cleaned? Is the coat matted? Is the pet situated properly so that it won’t have to lie in its own soil after eliminations? Pets, especially cats with oral cancer can’t keep themselves clean, so they get demoralized quickly. The odor associated with necrotic, oral tumors can be offensive and cause social rejection by family members.  

Happiness— Score 0-10
Happiness is important for both caregiver and receiver. Ask yourself if the patient has desires wants and needs. Are these being met? Is the pet able to experience any joy or mental stimulation? It is easy to see that our pets communicate with their eyes. They know what is going on via their senses and mental telepathy. Is the ailing pet willing to interact with the family and be responsive to things going on around him? Is the aging cat able to purr and enjoy being on the bed or in one’s lap? Is there a response to a bit of catnip? Can the cat bat at toys or look and follow a laser light? Can the ailing pet enjoy the upbeat greetings and petting of loving family members? Can the pet’s bed be moved close to the family’s activities and not left in an isolated or neglected area? Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? Do you have a routine fun time that the pet looks forward to?

Mobility – Score 0-10

Mobility is relative. Ask, is the pet able to get up and move around enough to satisfy normal desires? Does the pet feel like going out for a walk? Is the pet showing CNS signs, seizures or stumbling? Can the pet be taken outdoors or helped into the litter box to eliminate with assistance? Will a harness, a sling, or cart help? Is medication helping?

More Good Days Than Bad Days— Score 0-10
Ask if there are more good days than bad days. When there are too many bad days in a row, (or if the pet seems to be “turned off” to life), the quality of life is too compromised. Bad days are those filled with undesirable experiences such as: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, frustration, falling down, seizures, etc. Bad days could be from a condition that worsens such as: cancer cachexia or the profound weakness from anemia, or from the discomfort caused by gradual tumor pressure or obstruction or a large, inoperable tumor in the abdomen. If the two-way exchange needed to communicate and maintain a healthy human-animal bond is just not there, the pet owner must reconcile or be gently told that the end may be near.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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