When an animal appears to be “getting old”, they are already starting to undergo ageing changes. We want to work with you to help your pets stay happy, healthy and pain-free for as long as possible, and as the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We want to set up preventative health programs for your pets as they age, but we need to know what we are up against in order to do so. This can involve some or all of the following.
- Thorough Physical Exam
- allows us to detect changes in vision, muscle mass, joint mobility
- allows us to screen for any new lumps or bumps that may warrant investigation
- allows us to assess dental health – this is VERY important to longevity, overall health and comfort, as dental disease is painful and can spread bacteria to other organs – causing premature disease elsewhere in the body
- allows us to note changes in weight, and even small changes are important
- allows us to listen for changes in the heart and lungs and feel for changes in the abdominal organs and the lymph nodes
- changes in the Complete Blood Count can indicate anaemia (which has many causes including chronic disease), certain cancers and infections
- changes in the Biochemistry Panel can indicate diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease and more
- it is always ideal to evaluate blood and urine together, as changes are often seen in the urine before they can be detected in the blood
- Blood Pressure
- high blood pressure is common in ageing pets, especially cats due to various reasons including kidney disease, thyroid disease and heart disease
- treating blood pressure is important to decrease damage being done to various organs including the heart, eyes, brain and kidneys
- x-rays may be recommended to evaluate the heart or lungs when an abnormality is heard or to evaluate the cause of a lameness for example
Remember, by the time signs of illness are noticeable, the disease is often quite advanced, so screening helps treat before it gets to that point (and treat with better success). Exams and screening should be done annually minimum, often more frequently depending on ongoing conditions.
We want to help! Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your pet’s overall health, dental health, weight, mobility, for a nutritional consult or with any other questions or concerns you may have. It’s what we are here for!
Written by Dr Phillips and Dr Dudley