Posted on 04 Feb 2016 in Cats, Dogs, Disease, Senior Pets

Senior Wellness

Senior Wellness Checks

Caring for our pets as they age is not always an easy task. It can be difficult to know the difference between a normal ageing process and signs of disease. Some pets can be particularly good at masking their discomfort or changes. This may allow certain ailments to progress to an advanced stage before detection. The vets and nurses at All Pets Veterinary Hospital can help you identify and interpret early changes in your pet’s behaviour, in order to provide appropriate advice and treatment if required. Our aim is to provide the best quality of life for your pet as he or she ages.

Any pet over the age of 8 is considered a senior, and for large breed dogs (over 25kg) 6 years of age is considered senior. Although many dogs and cats are still behaving like adolescents at this age, their bodies do develop special needs, particularly with regards to nutrition, oral care and exercise. Certain diseases become more common as pets get older and early signs are not always obvious, or may be mistaken for normal aging changes.

Senior wellness checks are performed by our qualified veterinary nurses. During this appointment, the nurse will examine your pet, and gain a thorough history from you about your pet's behaviour. A blood test and urine test is done, which is an easy way to help rule out problems such as kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease or diabetes, all of which become more common as pets age. Blood and urine tests and blood pressure checks at least annually allow us to know what is normal for your pet, and provide a benchmark for any changes that develop over the years. We will often be able to collect a urine sample during the visit, but if not we may need to advise you on how to collect a sample at home.

With early diagnosis, many conditions can be managed successfully, allowing our senior pets to continue being much loved and important members of the family.

A senior wellness check can be booked before your pet’s vaccinations, or at any other time during the year.

Explanation of tests that performed during a senior wellness check:

  • 1) Full health check and history
  • 2) Bloods tests:
  • Haematology – this assesses red and white blood cells and platelets . It can help to detect anaemia, inflammation, and dehydration as well as other conditions.
  • Biochemistry – this helps to assess kidney and liver function, as well as glucose levels (to assess for diabetes), and Calcium, Phosphorus and electrolyte levels.
  • Thyroid hormone levels – this test can help detect hyperthyroidism in cats, and hypothyroidism in dogs. This is recommended in all senior cats as it is one of the most common conditions, and for dogs if there are any suggestive signs.
  • 3) Urinalysis – this is important to accurately interpret the biochemistry blood results, and provides information about kidney function, diabetes, and urinary tract infections.
  • 4) Blood pressure monitoring – high blood pressure can cause numerous problems including blindness and neurological problems, and it is important to measure blood pressure as your pet ages.
  • 5) Results of examination and testing will be assessed by one of our veterinarians. A report will be given to you detailing your pet's results, and any recommendations. (If changes are present that are likely to require medication, an appointment with the vet will be organised to examine your pet and dispense medications).
  • Tests are done at a reduced rate for senior wellness checks, to help keep your pet healthy.

So if you have a senior pet, take this opportunity to make an appointment for a nurse Senior Wellness check at All Pets Veterinary Hospital to ensure that they are getting the best possible care, and help make your companion’s ageing a comforting and rewarding experience for you both!

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