Having an older pet in your life is a wonderful thing. All the work that has gone into training your younger pet pays off greatly when your pet ages into a more calm, seasoned adult. All dog breeds are considered to be approaching senior years when they reach about 7 years of age.
Testing is important as your pet begins to age so that there is baseline information on file and changes throughout each year can be tracked and evaluated as your pet continues to grow older. It is recommended that screening labs and bloodwork are updated once or twice each year. This helps to identify any illnesses or age-related diseases while still in the early stages, making diagnosis and treatment more effective for your pet. Treatment in the earlier stages also tend to be less costly.
It is not uncommon for older dogs and cats to outwardly appear perfectly healthy, as they are very good at hiding symptoms for long periods of time. Often they seem to go from healthy to very sick almost overnight, when they can no longer hide that something is wrong. Regular screenings are a reliable way to be sure that your pet remains healthy and are recommended every 6 months along with a physical exam.
Screenings typically include a Complete Blood Count, serum chemistry panel, a thyroid test and a urinalysis. These tests give an overall indication of your pet’s health and can detect conditions, infections and illnesses in the early stages. As your dog or cat ages, they may require changes to their diet or perhaps they need medications to help keep them more mobile. They may become more susceptible to parasites. Older pets may also begin to exhibit some behavior changes (disorientation or hearing loss, vision loss, mood changes, repetitive behaviors, etc.). Regular exams and screenings help to address these issues as they begin to occur.
If you have any questions about the health of your senior pet, please contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital at (903) 807-0887. We are happy to help guide you through this special time.