Senior pets are over 7 years for larger dogs and 8 years for smaller dogs & cats. As our pets age they need extra support to make the transition into their elderly years as comfortable as possible.
Twice yearly health checks are recommended as part of their care plan. Why do they need extra health checks? What happens in these health checks? Read on to learn more.
As with humans, pets need extra care as they age and their needs in nutrition, medication, supplements & health care change. During your senior health check your vet will discuss these things with you and help you formulate a senior care plan for your pet.
Your vet will perform a full health check on your pet including listening to their heart, their respiratory rate, take their temperature and may take their blood pressure and check for signs of arthritis. They will examine your pet’s teeth and can advice on dental hygiene or a dental procedure may be recommended. Dental health is important in animals of all ages but senior pets often need extra care as dental disease can lead to further health issues. Their weight will also be discussed as senior pets may lose or gain weight and their nutritional needs change. This is the ideal time to discuss what you are feeding your pet and look at if changes may help support them moving forward. Your veterinarian will also give your pet a thorough examination to check for any lumps or bumps.
A blood test is highly recommended. Your pet will be taken into the treatment room and a blood sample will be taken to see how their liver, kidneys etc are functioning. We are able to run blood samples in-house so will have the results in about 15 minutes. We also like to get a urine sample to run an in-house urinalysis. All of this will help to detect problems that may not be obvious on physical examination and advise you on how to ensure your senior oldie remains in good shape.
Use this time to discuss any concerns you may have with your vet as they are here to help you be the best fur parent you can be. Treating any health concern quickly will not only help your pet but can also prevent small issues becoming more serious problems down the track.
We look forward to seeing your senior pet for their health check, if you have any questions please contact us for a chat.
What do we learn from your pet’s blood:-
Full blood count:
•Red blood cells – checking for anaemia.
•White blood cells – checking for evidence of inflammation or infection
•Platelets – if these levels are too low then there may be potentially life threatening clotting abnormalities
•Kidneys – levels may be affected by kidney disease, dehydration or obstruction of the urinary tract. If severe then intravenous fluids may be required
•Liver – is important for metabolising
•Glucose – to check for diabetes
What do we learn from your pet’s urine:-
• Acidity (pH). The pH level indicates the acidity of the urine. In healthy dogs, urine pH should be in the 6.0 to 6.5 range.
•Specific gravity. This is a measure of your dog’s urine concentration, which is a measure of kidney function.
•Protein. Protein isn’t a normal component of urine, so a positive dipstick test for protein may indicate a bacterial infection, a problem with the kidneys, or blood in the urine
•Sugar. Sugar is also not normally found in urine. Its presence signals the possibility of diabetes mellitus.
•Ketones. Ketones in the urine are another red flag for diabetes.
•Blood. Blood present can mean infection, inflammation, or bladder or kidney stones.