Dogs 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.
Your pet ages more quickly than you do, making it essential that he/she be examined at least once a year and even more frequently as they approach their senior life stage. Often, pets begin to develop diseases common to their senior human counterparts, such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, endocrine disease and cancer. These diseases can go unnoticed in their early stages, making preventive health care even more important.
The age at which a pet reaches the senior life stage varies breed and lifestyle. Additional annual screening for diseases and other age related problems should begin at age seven for most cats and small to medium sized dogs. Large and giant breed dogs should be screened starting at age five or six. Wellness testing helps to establish healthy baseline values and identify problems early, rather than waiting for obvious signs of illness. It is recommended for all senior animals as well as any pet exhibiting one or more of the following symptoms:
Changes in your pets mobility
Noticeable weight loss or gain
Loss of appetite
Diarrhea or vomiting
Lumps, bumps or irritation to their skin
Issues with their teeth
Issues with their ears or shaking of head
These behaviors may reveal that further, more specific tests may be needed. Family Pet Clinic in North Richland Hills, TX recommends blood work and a urinalysis yearly to all of our senior pets. It helps to show slight changes in the tests to catch illnesses earlier.
Remember that with your at home observations and yearly tests can prevent or slow down the progression of some diseases. If your older pet is exhibiting any of the above listed behavioral changes, you are the first with a voice to help them find relief.