For Senior pets (over 7 years), wellness exams are recommended semi-annually in order to identify potential problems and diagnose disease as early as possible, even before symptoms are outwardly apparent. In this way, we can begin to treat any disorders promptly, with the highest possible effectiveness. A proactive approach to senior pet care includes wellness exams every 6 months and lab work once a year including blood work, urinalysis, & stool testing.
A senior wellness exam includes a complete head to tail physical examination. The lab work recommended includes tests used to diagnose blood disorders, kidney and liver disease, diabetes, infection, cancer, thyroid disease and other hormonal disorders. Many of these problems can be prevented, controlled, or completely reversed if diagnosed early.
There are five basic tests recommended for all senior patients:
Complete Blood Count (CBC) – The CBC tests for anemia, infection, inflammation and overall healthiness of the blood cells.
Chemistry Tests – Check for abnormalities of internal organ function.
- Liver: This group of tests help evaluate various functions and health of the liver.
- Kidney: These tests monitor the function and health of the kidneys. They are most helpful and sensitive for detecting kidney disease when combined with a urinalysis.
- Pancreas: These tests are abnormal when there is something wrong with the pancreas or carbohydrate metabolism.
- Muscle and Bone: Calcium and Phosphorus are helpful in determining the health of bone metabolism.
- Electrolytes: These are important in monitoring the electrical, water balance and cellular health of the body. Deficiencies or excesses of these electrolytes are harmful to the animal’s physical and mental well-being.
Thyroid Function Tests – As the name implies, these tests are useful in diagnosing malfunctions of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) is common in dogs; whereas hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) is common in older cats.
Urinalysis – This assesses the health and function of the urinary system. It is especially important in older animals to help in the early detection of kidney disease.
Stool Sample – A small sample of stool is examined to look for hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, coccidia, giardia & other intestinal parasites.