The average dog or cat that is 7 to 10 years of age and older qualifies as a "senior." As a pet ages there is a progressive decline in organ function, immunity, and physical and mental abilities. While some age-related diseases may not be preventable, early detection and intervention is the key to successful management. We recommend that senior pets receive a thorough physical examination every 6-12 months.
We also recommend annual blood work (CBC, chemistry profile and thyroid function tests), urinalysis, intraocular pressure testing, and fecal examination. These tests will enable us to detect changes that indicate a disease is present and may allow us to slow or stop its progression.
You should observe your pet and look for changes that may indicate an underlying disease:
- Change in appetite or weight loss/gain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Urination or defecation in the house
- Increased thirst
- Increased urine frequency, volume, straining etc.
- Difficulty rising, walking or climbing stairs
- Confusion, disorientation, anxiety or changes in sleep patterns
- Persistent cough
- New lumps or bumps
It is common to assume these signs are a normal part of the aging process; however, they may indicate underlying disease. If you notice any of these signs, please make an appointment and have your pet evaluated.