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Honoring the Bond of a Lifetime
By Alice Villalobos, DVM
Aging is an inevitable and normal process of living. It should not be considered a disease.
Aging is expressed as physical weakening, reduced stamina and deterioration of the organs and connective tissues in the body. It is associated with gradual changes in the body's phenotype the entire physical, biochemical and physiological makeup of an individual as determined both genetically and environmentally.
Changes such as wrinkles in the skin and gray hair are due to the normal phenomenon of cellular senescence, the process of growing old.
Many diseases, including cancer, involve a multi-step process that accumulates genetic damage over time. As our pets enjoy a longer lifespan, their bodies provide the time needed for the expression of senescence, disease and cancer.
The human-animal bond grows stronger with the passing of time. People are very proud of their older pets and they want them to live as long as possible in good health.
One of the biggest fears of caregivers of senior pets is that their pet will get cancer. The most common concurrent problems afflicting older pets are arthritis, dermatitis, dental disease, endocrinopathies, organ failure and obesity.
The dilemma for caregivers of older pets is the fact that the entire pet population is exposed to carcinogens that are ubiquitous in the environment.
Cancer is initiated and promoted by prolonged exposure to environmental carcinogens such as sun, tobacco smoke...
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