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.