Everyday I am asked by one of my pet parents, “Dr. B, what can I do to find problems in my senior pet before it is to late?”
This blog is my answer…..
What is a senior pet?
Today we are seeing both dogs and cats living into teen years and some up to twenty years and older. If your pet is 7 years or older you can be safe considering them seniors. Those of us who have come to grips with the fact that we are getting older know that with aging we become less able to cope with physical, enviormental and emotional stresses. Our bodies become weaker and more prone to developing certain disease processes. Things I see daily in older dogs: Kidney and liver disease, intestinal problems, arthritis, cognitive disorders, diabetes, blindness and deafness, and dental disease.
This is why I am a firm believer in the biannual exam for older pets. A complete physical exam is key. I am examining your senior pet from nose to tip of tail. I am listening to heart, lungs and gut sounds. Checking for pain, tumors, changes in color of skin or gums, checking eyes, ears and mouth.
Signs to look for in your senior pet:
- Body and Coat conditon
- Changes in weight
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Stiffness while getting up or down
- Coughing or labored breathing
- Changes in aggression
My recommendations for your senior pet:
- Exam and senior testing every 6 months
- Senior wellness to include a full physical
- Blood pressure
- CBC (Complete Blood Count)
- Chemistry (Liver, Kidney, Diabetes)
- Urinalysis (testing of urine)
- Thyroid Function (T4)
- Fecal (testing of stool)
- Chest and Abdominal Radiographs (at least yearly)
- To look for tumors or changes in shape and size of organs
Please come see me before you notice any changes.
Regular Senior Testing is key to giving your pet the chance at a longer healthier life.