Senior wellness testing
Wellness Testing in Older Dogs and Cats
As our pets get older, there is an increasing chance that they will develop disease. Often early signs of disease are very subtle, and it is hard to notice changes that indicate a problem. For this reason we recommend annual wellness testing in all pets over the age of 7 years.
Physical exams in pets can tell us a great deal as to the health of your pet. However, the exams do not tell us how well the body is functioning like the lab tests. Tests with normal results give us a baseline to which we can compare future results and assure us your pet is doing well. Abnormal test results enable us to identify a problem in its early stages and take the appropriate steps to prevent or slow down the progression of the disease. This allows you to give your pet a longer and healthier life.
Wellness screening will usually include some or all of the following:
- CBC or complete blood count helps us to look for infection, cancer, anemia, dehydration, clotting problems, and blood parasites.
- Chemistry profile helps us to look for kidney problems, liver problems, diabetes, and sometimes cancer.
- Urinalysis can detect early kidney problems (before changes are seen in the blood), evidence of diabetes, infections, liver disease, and bladder stones.
- Total T4 is performed in cats to check for hyperthyroid disease. Sometimes additional testing for thyroid disease is needed.
- Blood Pressure checks for high or low blood pressure. High blood pressure is especially common in older cats with kidney or thyroid disease. High blood pressure can lead to heart problems, blindness, and further kidney disease.
- ECG helps us to look for heart arrythmias from heart disease or sometimes metabolic diseases, and can sometimes indicate enlargement of heart chambers due to heart disease.
- Echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. This gives a very clear picture as to how well the heart is working and what structures of the heart may not be working properly.
- Radiographs of the chest and/or abdomen are important to look for changes in the lungs or the heart, and especially in large or nervous dogs can detect abdominal masses that are unable to be detected on physical exam.
Depending on the results of these initial tests and the lifestyle of your individual pet, additional testing may be needed.
The wellness testing is an important part of your pets’ preventative care. It is another tool that we can utilize to ensure you are able to provide the best possible health and care for your pet.