Veterinary medicine has allowed our furry (or not so furry) friends to live longer and healthier lives, however, extending your pet’s lifespan is not without its concerns. Older pets begin to develop age-related changes that can affect their health. As pets reach the golden years, there are a variety of conditions and diseases that they can face, including weight and mobility changes; osteoarthritis; kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; hormone disorders such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance; and many others.
Once your pet reaches their senior years, it is important to have them examined bi-annually or every 6 months. Just like people, changes happen to their bodies much faster than they do when they are young. It is crucial to your pet's health that we detect possible illnesses and diseases sooner rather than later. We can sometimes even reverse diseases with dietary changes or mild treatment if we detect the illness early. Early detection can extend or even save your pet’s life!
Our doctors recommend doing annual blood work for your senior pet. Our senior blood work panel consists of a Complete Blood Count (CBC), Chemistry Profile, Thyroid Function Test (T4), and Urinalysis. The CBC looks for conditions such as Leukemia, Anemia, Infection, and Inflammation. The Chemistry Profile aids in the detection of Pancreatic, Kidney, and Liver deficiencies and improper functioning. Thyroid Function Testing detects Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. Last but not least, Urinalysis can detect Diabetes, protein levels, and Kidney disease. These tests are done through a blood and urine sample that we can either run in the house, or sent out to a laboratory. Your pet’s doctor will then look over and discuss the results with you, and decide if any treatment or precautions are necessary.
We are aware that some animals age faster and develop health issues at different ages depending on their species, breed, genetics, and lifestyles. For this reason, we will sometimes recommend blood work for your pet earlier than others. We typically consider cats to be seniors at 10 years of age, and dogs at 8 years of age. If you would like to do senior blood work early on your pet, we are happy to do so. We can also do abbreviated panels and specific tests if you are on a budget. Please let us know if you are interested in any of these options.