Aging isn’t a disease, but unfortunately with age comes an increased chance of developing chronic health conditions. At Guthrie Pet Hospital, we consider dogs and cats senior after they reach ten years of age. Dr. Coffin will discuss why she recommends your senior pet have additional testing.
Ten percent of senior pets will develop one of these conditions:
- Kidney failure
- Thyroid disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Eye disease
Early detection of these diseases allows your veterinarian to help you slow down the progression of the disease; therefore, allowing your pet to live a longer, healthier life. Generally, early detection is also less expensive than waiting until your senior pet is showing clinical signs of disease.
Performing additional testing allows veterinarians to establish a baseline for your senior pet. Annual testing will allow us to trend and track values as they change over the years. Dr. Coffin recommends testing your senior pet at least once a year. If your pet is on daily medication, additional testing is recommended every six months to make sure that the medication is not causing any organ problems.
Additional testing includes much more than blood work. Blood work allows your veterinarian to check your pet’s kidney, liver, thyroid, and sugar levels. Pets with kidney and thyroid disease can also develop high blood pressure. Therefore, annual blood pressure testing is necessary for these patients. Pets with heart disease may need regular EKG and heart ultrasound to monitor the progression of heart disease. For patients with eye disease, they will require testing for glaucoma and tear production to help maintain your pet’s eyesight.
The goal in senior pet additional testing is to detect disease before you notice any clinical symptoms. However, this doesn’t always happen.
Here are some common senior pet signs:
- Excessive drinking
- Excessive urination
- Decreased appetite
- Increased appetite
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Exercise intolerance
- Difficulty getting up and down
At Guthrie Pet Hospital our goal is to help your pet live a long and happy life. Prevention of disease and early detection of disease is our top priority. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendation for additional testing for your senior pet.