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  Conditions Addressed by the Foundation  

Examples of the conditions addressed by The Foundation from Ruthie's life follow.

Treatment for these and other conditions can be provided by family caregivers in conjunction with local veterinarians, local specialty practices, and the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

Digestive Disorders – Elderly dogs are frequently affected by digestive disorders such as pancreatitis and inflammatory diseases. Symptoms of these conditions can include vomiting and diarrhea. Ruthie lived with pancreatitis for several years. These conditions can be controlled with over the counter medications, such as Pepcid, and with diets that are low in fat content.

Neurologic and Orthopedic Disorders - Nerve and joint disorders are relatively common in elderly dogs. They can include spinal conditions, such as disc degeneration, as well as arthritis and related disorders. As a dachshund, Ruthie experienced disc disease and arthritis. They can be addressed through physical therapy and pain medications. Physical therapy can be applied by therapists and by family caregivers.

Cancer – Malignant disease of various organs affect elderly dogs. Many of them can be treated effectively if diagnosed early. Some of the medications that can address these conditions are available through local veterinarians. The Cornell University Hospital for Animals Department of Medical Oncology can provide guidance in treating these conditions to local veterinarians and onsite treatment at the facility. Ruthie benefited from treatment by the Department at Cornell and related care by local veterinarians.

Eye Disorders – Elderly dogs can experience loss of vision. These disorders can be partial or total. They can produce negative effects on behavior and personality. Ruthie experienced a form of corneal degeneration which eventually produced blindness. She coped with it by using her sense of smell and walking to establish the limits of her environment. Family caregivers can help their dogs deal with these conditions.

Hearing Loss – Many elderly dogs lose their hearing. This problem can be addressed through behavioral therapy and other approaches. Assistance with diagnosis and treatment is available from local veterinarians and the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

Dental Disease – As they age, dogs are susceptible to dental disease. Because they usually do not have the dental care that in available to humans, this condition can go untreated. Ruthie was able to maintain most of her teeth past the age of 20 years. She did this through periodic care provided by a veterinarian and through regular cleaning by her owner caregiver.

Dementia – Degeneration of the brain caused by dementia and other diseases can occur in dogs as it does in humans. A form of this disease, which affects the cerebellum - the part of the brain that supports balance, has been called Old Dog Vestibular Disease. These conditions can be addressed by caregivers through regular stimulation and activity. Providing this stimulation during the day can be especially helpful. The Cornell University Hospital for Animals Department of Neurology can provide guidance to local veterinarians and on site care for these conditions.

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