Senior Dogs

Aging Effects on Dogs

Dogs seem to have a lot of health problems as they get older. They may get issues such as arthritis, diabetes, heart failure, cancer, seizures, myelopathy, etc. Because of these health problems, it may require a lot of trips to the vet as well as make a big dent in your checking account.

According to The American Kennel Club, one of the main problems with older dogs is getting cancer. Some types of cancer are very aggressive such as Osteosarcoma, which affects the dog’s bones. Cancer in dogs is usually found too late. A couple of ways to prevent aggressive cancers are doing yearly checkups with your vet and ensuring they have a healthy diet.
Another problem that many dogs have, especially seniors dogs, is heart failure. The most common heart failure in dogs is called congestive heart failure. Mrs. Nothem, a math teacher at Mineral Point high school, has an older dog named Coulee, a black lab who will be turning twelve soon. Coulee is currently going through congestive heart failure. Due to that issue, they give Coulee two different prescriptions daily to help her live a more comfortable life.

Another issue some dogs might have is seizures. The exact causes of seizures in dogs are unknown. Dogs can have many different types of seizures, but the most common one is idiopathic epilepsy, which makes dogs have repeated seizures throughout their lives. Addison Burris, a Mineral Point high school student, has a dog named Willy, a wiener dog who will be turning sixteen in February next year. Willy has had seizures before, and because of that, Addison and her family give Willy medicine. As of now, the medication is helping prevent Willy from having seizures.


An uncommon but not rare condition that some dogs could have is called myelopathy. The cause of myelopathy comes from a genetic mutation. Myelopathy causes dogs to become weak throughout their body, starting with the hind legs. Myelopathy will eventually cause the dog to become paralyzed. Mrs.Wanta, a sign language interpreter at Mineral Point high school, had a dog named Ivan, a pug who was seven years old when he passed away. Ivan has had myelopathy ever since he was five and a half. Mrs. Wanta had previously experienced this issue with her other dog, so she knew how to help Ivan. They had tried experimental shots with their other dog, who had the same condition, but it didn’t work. So with Ivan, they decided to give him a vitamin once daily to help slow down the process. The vitamin didn’t cure Ivan’s condition, but it might have slowed down the process.


Even though dogs may come with health issues, if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have a life filled with happy memories. When you chose to add a dog to your family, you treat and love them like you would love a family member.