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senior petsYou know your pet better than anyone, but sometimes you can miss the signs that something is wrong. Monitoring your pet’s health is an important part of routine care.  Once your pet reaches the age of 7, it is important to do bloodwork to establish baseline information so that as they continue to age, new tests can be compared to the baseline and detect any changes that might indicate a problem.

Medical advances allow your veterinarian to diagnose potential diseases before they become a serious issue for your pet.  If detected early, 75% of common diseases in dogs and 63% of common diseases in cats can be prevented by dietary modifications over a one year period of time.  Early detection of liver and kidney diseases can provide full recovery or extension of lifespan for a pet with proper treatment, and early therapy regimens for a pet that has developed diabetes can prevent damage to other organs.

Semi-annual visits are recommended for all pets so that signs of illness or other problems can be detected early and treated.

Your pet and your pet’s needs will change as they age. For example:

  • Your pet may need foods that are more easily digested and contain different calorie levels, ingredients and anti-aging nutrients.
  • Your pet may experience a change in weight: weight gain in dogs or weight loss in cats can indicate a greater risk of health problems.
  • Your pet’s immune system may not be able to fight off diseases or heal as fast as in a younger animal, so detection of parasites becomes more important.  A different vaccination schedule may be necessary as well for an older pet.
  • Your pet’s mobility is likely to change, so keeping your  older pet active with appropriate exercise can keep them healthier. They may not be able to maneuver stairs as well as they used to and may spend more time resting indoors.
  • Geriatric pets can show signs of senility, hearing loss, vision loss, etc.  If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior you should consult your veterinarian.  Interact with your pet to keep them mentally active.

Veterinarians across the country agree that as pets age, you should conduct the following 5 tests once or twice a year to diagnose and manage possible diseases and age-related issues:

  • Complete Blood Count to detect Anemia, Leukemia, Infection, Inflammation
  • Blood Chemistry Profile for Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Muscle and Bone Disorders
  • Thyroid Function Blood Test for Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism
  • Urinalysis to detect Kidney Disease, Protein Loss, Diabetes
  • Fecal Exams to check for parasites like Hookworms, Whipworms, Roundworms, Coccidia, Giardia and Tapeworms:  View the Parasite Indexes Here

As always, our team at Longview Animal Hospital is here to help.  If you have any questions or concerns about your aging pet, please feel free to contact us at 903-758-2082.

Senior Pet Health – Detect and Protect Resource