Once your pet enters their senior years (approximately 7-8 years of age) we recommend that they undergo a thorough senior wellness exam and diagnostic work-up. We recommend annual, or in some cases, twice yearly visits for our geriatric patients. Even though you may believe your pet is normal, there are many disease processes that do not show any outward sign until the disease is quite advanced. More advanced diseases can be more difficult to treat and are not always as responsive to treatment as diseases diagnosed early. Each visit will involve a detailed discussion with one of our veterinarians, as well as a thorough physical examination. The more comprehensive diagnostic workup may involve such non-invasive tests such as blood and urine tests, and cytology of any lumps or bumps. Early detection of diseases such as kidney disease, thyroid disease, and diabetes mellitus will allow us to administer the appropriate treatments to help extend and improve the quality of your pet’s life. Some treatments may be as simple as a diet change. In some cases, the initial testing will allow us to make recommendations as to what further, more specific diagnostic tests may be required to address a health concern, or what therapeutics would be most appropriate and safe to use. If the test results are normal, we have a healthy baseline in which to compare future results.
Many symptoms that historically have been attributed to old age and were considered untreatable are now treatable. For example, some dogs that appear to have lost their mental alertness can be returned to a mental status indicative of a younger age using appropriate therapy. Dogs that are stiff and sore because of arthritis can now potentially receive relief that will significantly improve their quality of life.
Please feel free to bring up any issues of concern with the veterinarian or the other staff members so that we can completely address all of your pet’s needs. We are definitely your best resource for information regarding health care of your senior pet!