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  • Writer's pictureAlissa Anderson

LUMPS, BUMPS, AND SKIN HEALTH IN SENIOR PETS

As pets age, they become more susceptible to various health issues, including skin masses. Skin masses are abnormal growths on the skin that can be benign or malignant. While some skin masses may not pose a significant threat to a senior pet's health, others can be life-threatening over time. Therefore, it is essential to know when to see a vet if you notice any skin masses on your senior pet. You should do a “Lumps and Bumps” check regularly on your senior pet – once a month is a great place to start. If you discover a new growth, the first step in determining whether it is a cause for concern is to monitor its growth and appearance. Get a tape measure and a notebook and write down what you see, then continue to track your findings over time. Clipping around the growth is a great way to REMEMBER to monitor it and to see it more easily! Dr Sue Cancer Vet recommends moving forward with diagnostic testing on masses that are the size of a pea or larger, or that have been present for 1 month or more.



If the mass is small and does not seem to be growing, it may not be a significant issue that cannot wait until your pet’s next veterinary visit. However, if the mass is rapidly growing or changing in shape or color, it is essential to seek veterinary care promptly. These changes could indicate that the mass is malignant. Another factor to consider is the location of the skin mass. If the mass is in an area that is frequently exposed to the sun, such as the nose or ears, it may be more likely to be cancerous. Additionally, if the mass is located in an area that is important to mobility, such as the armpit or groin, it may be more likely to become a problem if it grows large (and if too large, surgical excision may no longer be an option) even if it is a benign growth. It is also important to consider your pet's overall health when deciding whether to seek veterinary care for a skin mass. If your pet has other health issues, such as heart disease or diabetes, they may be more susceptible to complications from a skin mass, including infection if the mass is open or ulcerated. Additionally, if your pet is experiencing other symptoms, such as lethargy or loss of appetite, it may be a sign that the skin mass is affecting their overall health or has already metastasized. Monitoring the growth of the mass, considering its location, and taking into account your pet's overall health are all factors to consider when making this decision. If you notice any changes in your senior pet's skin, it is always best to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary care promptly.


I’d like to take this chance to highlight one of the supplements I believe the majority of senior pets should be taking, which can help support healthy skin – Omega 3 fatty acids!


Omega 3 Fatty Acids & Skin Health


As pets age, their nutritional needs change. One important nutrient that geriatric pets may require more of is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that play a crucial role in maintaining skin health in dogs and cats. These fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have numerous benefits for skin health in dogs and cats, including reducing inflammation, improving skin barrier function, and promoting healthy skin and coat. They also provide other benefits for geriatric pets, including improved cognitive function, joint health, and immune system function.


One of the most significant benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for skin health in dogs and cats is their ability to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a common cause of skin problems in pets, including itching, redness, and irritation. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the skin by blocking the production of inflammatory molecules. This can help to alleviate skin problems and improve overall skin health in dogs and cats.


Another important benefit of omega-3 fatty acids for skin health in dogs and cats is their ability to improve skin barrier function. The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin, which helps to protect the body from environmental stressors such as bacteria, allergens, and pollutants. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve skin barrier function by increasing the production of ceramides, which are essential components of the skin barrier. This can help to prevent skin problems and improve overall skin health in dogs and cats.


Finally, omega-3 fatty acids can also promote healthy skin and coat in dogs and cats. These fatty acids are important for maintaining the health and integrity of skin cells, which can help to prevent dryness, flakiness, and other skin problems. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids can help to promote the production of sebum, which is a natural oil that helps to keep the skin and coat moisturized and healthy.


Other Benefits


One of the most significant benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for geriatric pets is improved cognitive function. As pets age, they may experience cognitive decline, which can lead to confusion, disorientation, and behavioral changes. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve cognitive function in aging pets by reducing inflammation in the brain and promoting the growth of new brain cells. This can help to slow down cognitive decline and improve overall brain function in geriatric pets.


Another important benefit of omega-3 fatty acids for geriatric pets is improved joint health. As pets age, they may develop arthritis or other joint problems that can cause pain and discomfort. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the joints, which can help to alleviate pain and improve mobility in geriatric pets. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids can help to promote the growth of healthy cartilage, which can help to prevent further joint damage.


Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to improve immune system function in geriatric pets. As pets age, their immune systems may become weaker, making them more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to boost immune system function by reducing inflammation and promoting the production of immune cells. This can help to keep geriatric pets healthy and reduce their risk of developing infections and illnesses.


So as you can see, omega-3 fatty acids are a very important nutrient for geriatric pets! They offer numerous health benefits, including improved skin health, cognitive function, joint health, and immune system function. Pet owners should consider adding omega-3 fatty acids to their pet's diet to help support their overall health and well-being as they age. My favorite products (remember, supplements are not regulated by the FDA) as Welactin and EicosaCaps, but regular fish oil capsules can also be used!






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