Our mission is to provide your senior pet with health care that is proactive.
We want to help you maintain the highest possible quality of life for your pet and thereby enhance the bond we all share. Senior preventive health care programs should begin between 8-11 years of age. We advocate a complete physical examination at least every 6-12 months and routine laboratory screening of healthy seniors to detect disease before there is a significant decline in physical condition, organ function or the development of serious symptoms.
Senior Health Care Program Overview
"This old guy is doing great… he's just slowing down … getting old like the rest of us."
Owners of senior pets often notice health problems or behavior changes but consider them to be age related or untreatable. Changes associated with aging and disease progression in senior pets occur within a short period of time. Pets with significant disease often appear healthy.
For example, dogs with chronic renal failure rarely show symptoms until there is very little functional renal tissue left. Early diagnosis before the advanced stage of disease provides a greater opportunity to slow progression of disease and prolong the life of senior dogs.
Dental disease is another, often overlooked, cause of symptoms attributed to "aging." Dental problems in older pets can cause decreased food intake, depress appetite and result in weight loss. Bacterial infections of the heart muscle or kidneys can often be traced to an unhealthy mouth.
Selected diagnostic tests performed at appropriate intervals may facilitate the detection of early stage disease when control or even prevention is possible (and cost-effective). These tests also provide a baseline with which we can compare changes should your pet become ill in the future.
Health Care Program Specifics
- A complete medical and behavioral history and physical examination on a regular basis. While an annual exam suffices for younger pets, your veterinarian will want to see our older pet at least every six months (six months for a cat or dog equals approximately 3 years in the life of a human).
- Weight evaluation and body condition score
- Evaluation of arthritis
- Vaccinations administered based on individual risk assessment
Annual diagnostic testing including some of the following:
- Fecal – detects intestinal parasites, unusual bacteria, protozoa, and red and white blood cells.
- Urinalysis – a key test when done in conjunction with blood tests in evaluating overall kidney function; also detects silent urinary tract infections and diabetes.
- Complete Blood Count – A CBC provides detailed information on red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. These tests can indicate anemia, infection, leukemia, stress, the presence of inflammation or an inability to fight infections. Platelets are involved in blood clotting and if low can indicate a bleeding problem.
- Blood chemistry – Blood chemistry tests provide information about the kidneys, liver, pancreas, thyroid and intestinal tract. These tests can also indicate anemia and dehydration as well as endocrine diseases and certain tumors.
- Electrolytes – (Sodium, Chloride and Potassium) the balance of these electrolytes is vital to your pet's health. Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and cardiac symptoms.
- Serum Thyroid Hormones – In cats we look for above normal (hyperthyroidism) and in dogs we look for subnormal levels (hypothyroidism).
MAINTAINING SENIOR HEALTH Your veterinarian should evaluate any of the following symptoms in an older pet:
- Behavior Problems
- Change in food and water consumption
- Abnormal urination and defecation
- Body weight changes
- Activity level changes
- Abnormal odors
- Skin lumps, masses and sores that do not heal
- Coughing and sneezing
- Vomiting and diarrhea