3. Your 13-year-old dog is diagnosed with osteosarcoma—bone cancer —which is a very painful disease. If you amputate the limb where the cancer has manifested itself and authorize chemotherapy, there’s a chance that your pet will live another year of good-quality life. That’s a reasonably long time for a dog, but the treatment will be costly, and there are no guarantees about the effectiveness of the operation followed by chemo. A year is an average estimate based on research of other dogs, not by any means a prognosis engraved in stone. Some dogs live longer; some succumb much sooner. You
Of course, if an owner can’t afford the couple thousand dollars or more for the operation, that’s a different story. And no one is “bad” for deciding not to put themselves into a financial crisis to save their pet. We firmly believe that as long as you love your dog from the moment she’s under your care until the moment she leaves this world, you have made the right ethical and emotional commitment. But if money is not an issue, or if you have pet health insurance, in this case, the operation is the way to go.
“It’s akin to helping your 85-year-old grandmother breathe easier,” Dr. Berg says. You don’t know how much time she has left, but she shouldn’t have to die of shortness of breath if she doesn’t have to, and can go back to leading a reasonably comfortable, happy life as soon as the operation is over.
Then, too, he says, “if a dog is 11, she would have a much better chance of getting that extra year if her osteosarcoma were treated. A dog who is 13, even without osteosarcoma, might not have a year left. In other words, you have to balance the age and the likely amount of time the dog has left naturally against the odds of extending her life with treatment.
And playing the odds is exactly what an owner is doing in that situation. “It’s impossible in such cases to tell owners what to do,” Dr. Berg says. “We can give an approximation, some level of probability, but we can’t say what will happen in each scenario. We are blinded to the outcome.”
Should I have my 14 year old dog’s teeth cleaned?
Bacteria from the infected gums can get in the bloodstream and “seed” other organs, such as the kidney or liver. Also, bacteria can collect on the heart valves, making any existing leakage of the valves worse. For this reason, I recommend that your friend have her dog’s teeth cleaned under general anesthesia.
Should I get my 10 year old dog’s teeth cleaned?
If everything is normal, then the risk of anesthesia for an older pet is the same as for a younger pet. The reality is that dental disease worsens with age and most pets need dental cleaning when they are older. This means that the average age of pets getting dental cleanings is typically between 9-12 years of age.
The veterinarians advice on surgery in your older pet
Some of us fortunate dog owners will, at some point in time, have the great honour of living with a senior dog. Senior dogs make me laugh. Our relationship develops in a completely different way then it did when these dogs were my “competition partners.” What defines “senior,” I think is for each of us to decide. For me personally, I think age is just a number. My birth certificate may read that I am 51 years old but I will not buy into that! I believe the same holds true for my dogs.
My oldest dog today “Buzz” (who will be 16 years old in less than a month) has always lived with such joy. He truly exemplifies living each day as if it was your birthday and he has been that way since the day I brought him home as a 7-week old puppy.
A few months ago I had Buzz’s “wellness” blood work done at my vet clinic. When my vet herself made the phone call about the results I was a bit panicked (isn’t that the job of a vet tech??). Panic was replaced with relief as Dr. Kelly announced in a rather surprised voice that Buzz’s wellness profile looked very similar to a 5-year-old dog. No values where elevated anywhere. Hurray for Buzz!
As Buzzy has aged he has developed a collection of “lumps” or Lipomas all over his body. These are relatively harmless fat deposits under the skin that many dogs acquire as they grow older. A few years ago when crazy man Buzz knocked out one of his front teeth (and needed a surgery to remove a root) I decided to remove his biggest two lumps which hung down under his chest.
Buzz’s body started betraying him as a 5-year-old so over the past 11 years he has had to do a lot of “compensating” to get around. Still, he will not be denied. When I set out to take the dogs for their “big walk” around our field Buzz always wants in. Don’t anyone suggest he is “too old” for the hills (there are a lot of them). Even though it only takes 15 minutes to make the trip around, the hills and uneven surface of the field make it challenging for a “senior” dog.