With advances in medical care and nutrition, our pets are living longer, healthier lives. This presents us with a new set of challenges, as well as opportunities to help our animal friends maintain an excellent quality of life by managing the physical and mental changes that accompany aging. Generally, these senior alterations occur most prominently during the last 25% of their lifespan. Therefore we designate our cats and small dogs (less than 20 pounds) seniors at 9 years, our medium sized dogs (21-50 pounds) seniors at 8 years, our large sized dogs (51-90 pounds) seniors at 7 years, and our giant breed dogs (more than 91 pounds) seniors at 6 years of age.
Senior Wellness Exams Keep Your Pet Healthy
A comprehensive evaluation performed on a regular schedule is the best way to detect sub-clinical diseases or to find increased risk factors of disease in senior patients. It has been repeatedly documented that many of the chronic disorders and disease processes seen in senior pets can either be cured or at least medically controlled if they are detected early enough. That is our goal!
Q: When should my pet be examined?
A: We recommend twice yearly exams in our senior patients. At each visit we will gather a complete history and perform a thorough physical exam.
Q: What will be covered during these exams?
A: You will discuss your pet’s condition with the veterinarian. Together, we will evaluate whether your dog or cat is showing signs of organ failure, deterioration of the senses, or senile dementia. A thorough physical examination will be performed, looking for evidence of arthritis or other pain, dental/periodontal disease, weight loss/gain, or signs of cancer. Based on the results of the exam and our discussions, we may recommend specific tests be performed.
Q: What tests should I consider for my senior pet?
A: A senior evaluation begins with a comprehensive chemistry profile, which assesses your pet’s liver, kidneys, pancreas, glucose, protein levels, and electrolytes. A complete blood count evaluates red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, and indications of anemia, infection, or certain cancers. We recommend that senior cats, and some senior dogs, also have their thyroid functions checked. A urinalysis to screen for early kidney disease or urinary tract infection is also a part of the basic assessment for most pets. For those desiring an enhanced level of testing, we encourage chest and abdominal radiographs, blood pressure evaluation, glaucoma screening, and an ECG. We may recommend some of these more advanced tests based on your pet’s physical exam, to further evaluate any abnormal findings.
With this information, it is our hope that we identify any developing problems in your pet while they are still in an early, treatable stage. Other chronic conditions are not curable, but early diagnosis often allows us to make lifestyle adjustments which slow progression of the disease. We know that your senior companion is a treasured member of your family and we want to help you ensure that his or her golden years will be a happy, healthy time.
Senior Wellness Exams at Avery Animal Hospital
If you’d like to learn more or get a senior wellness exam for your pet, contact us or Make An Appointment today!
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