It can be hard to admit when we see the signs of old age in our animal companions, but the fact is that most dogs are considered seniors when they hit seven, cats around nine. Pets age much more rapidly than humans, which means diseases and illness progress quicker as well.
To ensure that your pet has the longest, healthiest, most comfortable life possible, Trusted Friend Animal Clinic encourages you to bring your senior pet for exams and blood tests twice each year. This way, we can track how your pet is aging, and we’ll be more likely to catch any developing diseases before they’re big problems.
Blood tests are one of the most important parts of a senior exam. These blood screenings—often referred to as a “senior panel”— monitor red and white blood cell counts and reveal how well the kidney, liver, pancreas, and thyroid are functioning. Your vet may recommend a chest x-ray to ensure that the heart is a normal size and that there are no masses in the lungs. We also recommend checking blood pressure as a recommended test with senior bloodwork for cats and dogs.
Periodontal disease is always a threat to our pets’ health and comfort, and it’s particularly tough on older pets. That’s why a dental exam is always part of any senior pet screening as well.
Finally, make sure to let your vet know about any behavior changes in your pet. Once dogs and cats get to the geriatric stage, monitoring for signs of cognitive dysfunction—such as losing housebreaking, getting lost or wandering aimlessly—is very important.
Joint Pain & Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the most common ailments of older pets. Signs of pain in dogs include:
- hesitant to jump on bed or into the car
- going slower on stairs (up or down)
- having trouble getting up from laying down
- taking longer to sit and lay down
- less energetic on walk
- stiff walk
- trouble getting up and/or walking on slick floors
Signs of pain in cats include:
- jumping less
- not grooming themselves as much as they used to
- not wanting to be petted over their back or hips
- stiff when walking
- having trouble going up or down stairs.
To schedule a wellness exam for your senior pet, call us at 404-907-1404.