Does my senior pet really need blood work?

Senior Wellness BoxerDogs and cats age more quickly than their human companions.  That being said, when a pet reaches seven years old, it is considered a senior – with the same types of health risks that humans face at advanced ages.  One thing that many veterinarians recommend is a senior blood panel.

There are many reasons a blood panel can be helpful.  If done consistently, annual blood tests can help a veterinarian track and evaluate the overall condition of a pet’s vital organs and health.  In addition, blood tests can help a veterinarian detect early signs of many serious health conditions such as: kidney disease, diabetes, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, and liver disease.

Senior profiles are more comprehensive and will provide a more thorough evaluation of your pet’s current health.  These panels can also provide a good look into the body’s response to medications and anesthesia.  There are different types of blood tests that can be done, all performing different functions.  A CBC, complete blood cell count, looks for adequate red and white blood cell numbers and checks their present condition.  The chemistry profile looks at various organ enzymes, glucose, proteins, electrolytes, and cholesterol.  Finally, senior panels also look at thyroid function, making sure it is not over or under active.  In addition, your veterinarian may need to check your pet’s urine for signs of disease.

Routine blood work is useful in many applications: to establish a baseline on a healthy pet to compare to later, to help diagnose a pet that is “just not right”, and in geriatric pets.  Speak to your veterinarian today to see if a senior blood panel is right for your best friend – it is the best gift you can give.

 

Does My Old Dog or Cat Really Need Senior Blood Work?

At least once a day, we are discussing senior blood work with a client for their elderly cat or dog states Amanda L. Maus, DVM, at Catalina Pet Hospital in Tucson, AZ.  Clients want to know why we should do the lab work.  Will “bad” results change anything that they already do for their pet?  The answer is yes!  When we do blood work for a senior pet, we are looking for conditions that the pet may be hiding or for recently appearing symptoms.

Once we are able to identify certain diseases, we can develop a treatment plan that may include changing the diet and prescribing certain medications.  For example, a senior cat may come in for his or her annual exam and we notice that the kitty has lost one or two pounds from the last visit.  There are several diseases that can cause weight loss in senior cats such as diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid disease.  Let’s say the kitty is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid gland.  We are fortunate to have quite a few treatments options ranging from a prescription diet, pills, or radiation therapy.  By running some blood tests, we are able with certainty to address the specific cause of the cat’s weight loss and improve that patient’s quality of life!

If we can prevent or slow the progression of a disease, our senior pets are much more comfortable and can enjoy their remaining time with our families that much easier.

Submitted by:

Amanda L. Maus DVM
Catalina Pet Hospital
3801 East Fort Lowell Road
Tucson, AZ 85716